The systems and drills weren't overly-complicated, the line combinations were continuously shuffled and the first regular-season game is still three weeks away, but the Blackhawks are excited just to be back on the ice.
"I think just getting on the ice, getting on the ice around the guys, for sure there's something to be said for that," defenseman Duncan Keith said. "Definitely that adds to the excitement more than when you're playing a long season that ended two months ago. (But) I'd definitely take that (lesser excitement) over a four-month break."
"Yeah it was a long summer for sure," Patrick Kane added. "It gave me some time to think about what happened last year and move on from it and get ready for the season with some new additions."
Aside from the first-day-of-school excitement that comes with the opening day of on-ice work, there was a palpable energy inside Fifth Third Arena as experienced veterans like Kane and Keith took the ice with those new additions - 10 in total if you count the return of Andrew Shaw - and a talented crop of up-and-coming prospects following perhaps the busiest offseason in recent memory for Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman.
"We've all talked a lot about the team and where we are headed this year and I think there's a sense of excitement for some newness," Bowman said. "We have some new players, new coaches. It's a different look for our camp and for that reason I think we're excited to be back on the ice and finally ready to go."
"The pace is high. No one is taking anything for granted," Jonathan Toews said after the opening day. "Everyone is in the same mix, guys are excited to get going, guys are excited to show what they can do, how prepared they are after the offseason and get our team off on the right foot."
"It kind of seems like a restart for us," Kane added. "We had our little run there (and then) we had a couple down years. Now, it's like hopefully we can pick it back up."