CENTENNIAL, Colo.-Proper expectations are great.
Expectations are what fuels fandom, drives desire, creates competition. Expectations are what new Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar is instilling in his new organization.
From top to bottom, the man has a program and the players in both Colorado and with the San Antonio Rampage will be expected to go with it. It will shape how they practice, how they play, how they conduct themselves and how they will perform.
"I think every year, you start and teach the details of your system. It's what your expectations are for all parts of your system and the way you want to play," Bednar said after skating concluded on Thursday. "When the details are right-and you keep hammering them home and reviewing them through training camp, through the first month of the year, the second month-you become better and better at them because it just becomes second nature.
"You don't assume that they know. You start and you teach all the details because then you can move past some of them, and then the evolution of your system begins."
Video: Coach Bednar after the first day of training camp
Expectations for this club started long before the first day of Avs Training Camp and will continue until they become second nature for the players, shaping the team.
"It's about the process for me. So the way that we come to work every day, our attention to detail, our compete level, our work ethic; those are the things I'm focusing on: our daily habits," said Bednar. "The expectations and where we fall after that, that's all the results, and we're going to work on the process, especially early on in the season-be the best version of ourselves and see where it takes us."
Day one of the on-ice sessions was as much a learning experience as it was a practice. Players have new systems and new faces to adjust to.
"[We're] just scratching the surface. I thought we worked hard. Everything is new to them right now, the systems, all the little details. So they're thinking a little bit," Bednar said. "As we get going, we'll get faster and faster. The execution, when it's good it allows you to play fast, but I thought our guys were responding real well. They were heading to the right areas of the ice the way we want them to. Getting faster and faster, that will be a year-long process to get to where we want to be."
"It's great to get back, get the new system. We've got to get used to it. So far, first day was good. Everybody was learning, and we'll go from there," veteran forward Cody McLeod said. "It was moving the puck quick and lots of support all over the ice. The biggest thing was to get back to our own zone and help the 'D' get the puck out. For the most part, it was really good, really beneficial."
Players itching to get back on the ice were met with a grueling but informative first-day skate that was constructed around the way Bednar wants his squad to play.
"It was good, just a lot of system work to get everyone on the same page and get everyone familiar with what he wants and what he expects," forward Blake Comeau said. "It was high paced, lots of skating so it was a good first day."
Video: Eric Gelinas returns from his season-ending injury
"I think its awesome. Everything is fast paced, on and off the tape and stuff," said defenseman Eric Gelinas. "I think we have the group to kind of do that stuff, and all the forwards are fast and the 'D' are good, puck-moving defensemen. So I think its all going to mesh good together."
Proper expectations are what will bring the Avalanche success this season. That is why Bednar will wait to craft his roster until he knows what he is working with.
"I want to watch these guys in training camp, and then my expectations will [come]. That goes for returning players, new, young guys, guys that were in San Antonio," Bednar said of constructing his lineup. "I'm not locking them into any sort of position or line or how much ice time they're going to get until we get a chance-as our staff, our new staff-to evaluate them and see what they deserve."
That means anything is possible, and every player is going to work his breezers off for a chance to crack the NHL lineup.
"I think it's a little bit of a bonus," defensive prospect Duncan Siemens said. "I've had my struggles in the last few years and things haven't gone quite how I had them planned in my head. We've had a lot of guys come in with a fresh start.
Video: Duncan Siemens on making a good impression
"It allows me to play my game and not worry about anything else."
Competition will be high during the rest of Avalanche Training Camp, in the Burgundy/White Game and even through preseason as players vie for a spot.
"I put in a lot of work this summer," said Comeau. "I feel like most guys nowadays know the importance of coming to camp in shape and being ready to go from the start.
"Everyone knows they have to be ready when they come here."