Kevin Cheveldayoff is one of the many interested observers enjoying this week's NHL Research and Development camp. This isn't the only happy time for the new general manager of the Winnipeg Jets.
Seeing first-hand the excitement being generated with the NHL's return to Manitoba has been a blast.
"It is a surreal experience," he told NHL.com. "The players are going to feel that form the moment they land or drive in, however they get to town for the season. It's an infectious enthusiasm."
Even though he's a first-time NHL GM, Cheveldayoff said he's like every other manager here, just watching and seeing some of the rules changes in action.
"I think there's a lot of little, subtle things you kind of, as you're watching, you go what's going on here, and then you realize, oh, we're testing some things. There are some interesting things that by end of the camp, everyone will get a different flavor on some different things. I think the way that they're trying to tweak some of penalties with respect to having the puck for a period of time (on a delayed penalty), or not being able to ice it and stuff like that. It's good to take a look and see if these are different things that can enhance our game at some point."
What he also liked was seeing so many of his brethren watching and taking notes.
"The thing that's pretty encouraging for me is I'm looking around and seeing a lot of different GMs here that are seeing a lot of different things," Cheveldayoff said. "The League is constantly asking us what would you like to see changed, so this is a good form to implement them. At some point we'll be able to discuss them as a group. I think it's great because you'll see something with your eyes and the person sitting next to you will see something different. When we get into the group setting, we'll be able to fully discuss them."
Just as important for Cheveldayoff is getting to see some of the top prospects for the 2012 Entry Draft in action.
"The other aspect that's great here is to see all the great young kids," he said. "I went over to Europe to the (Ivan) Hlinka Tournament and it's interesting to see some of the kids after they've played on the big ice coming back to the small ice. Some kids stand out more, some kids stand out less. It's tough to fully evaluate them all during the summer. This is more of an opportunity to really hone in on the players, get a chance to see them, then let them develop over the course of the year."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK