Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek was a guest on NHL Live via Arena Cam to discuss playing close to his home in Stillwater, Minn., the look of the team and competing in the tough Western Conference.
Vanek, who played college hockey at the University of Minnesota, signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Wild on July 1 after he was twice traded last season.
"It's been good," Vanek said. "Obviously it's another transition for me but as with every other team, especially in hockey, I think there's been so many good guys, so it's been easy to get to know everyone and it's been fun on the ice."
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong made improvements to a team that finished 52-23-7 last season, but were eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Entering a new season, which opens Oct. 9 against the New York Rangers, the vibe around St. Louis is positive.
Buffalo Sabres forward Drew Stafford was a guest on NHL Live to look ahead what he believes will be an exciting season in western New York. The Sabres have a new-look team this season after finishing 2013-14 last in wins (21), points (52) and goals (150).
Stafford, entering his ninth NHL season (all with the Sabres), is looking forward to a fresh start
"I'm really excited," Stafford said. "It was a long summer, but the additions that we got through free agency, the new coaching staff, training camp has been great so far. Our guys are really pumped."
"It's exciting, better late than never," Schneider said. "I had a few guys in Roberto and Marty who I've been able to learn from and watch how to take care of myself and be prepared for the season. I think I'm ready to do that. It's going to be exciting for me this year.
"It's going to be a little bit of a new experience for me. I played 45 [games] last year, which is a good amount but it's still not 55 or 60, so there's still that extra little bit that you can push and mentally get through that grind. I've got a good support system here in Jersey training with coaches and my goalie coach, Chris Terreri, and teammates, so I'm going to rely on those guys for help and when I need to pull back a little bit or maybe I need to push forward."
The Blues enter 2014-15 carrying big expectations. Despite winning 52 games last season, St. Louis was eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight year, falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games after holding a 2-0 series lead. The year before, the Blues were ahead 2-0 against the Los Angeles Kings before losing in six games.