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by Adrian Aucoin / Arizona Coyotes
The summer is coming to an end and training camp is less than a month away. I’m looking forward to the 2010-11 season. We accomplished a lot as an organization last year, but I don’t think any of the guys are happy with how things played out and the way we ended the season with that Game 7 loss to Detroit. On the other hand, you have to stop and look at the good things we did and we did a lot of good things. Actually, we did a lot of great things and did a lot of things we can build on. Realistically, we know that we’ve got to learn how to get better and we’ve got to get better.

My family and I had a fun summer. We spent a good part of it here in Phoenix early on, then we went to Chicago for a few weeks and then we went up to Canada for a couple weeks. We also spent about a week at Disneyland. I know a week sounds like a long time but we had to take the little kids to the little kids' park, and the bigger kids to the bigger kids' park, etc. Now we’re back and the kids are in school. It’s strange to write that because when I was a kid we didn’t go back to school until after Labor Day, but my kids are young and they don’t know any different and they are just happy to be back at school.

I’ve spent the off-season working out at Athletes’ Performance, both here in Arizona and in Chicago. I’ve just started getting back to skating this week with the AthletesResource program and I’m quickly getting into the thick of it. It’s been fun. There are a lot of guys skating there - Shane Doan, Ed Jovanovski and Ilya Bryzgalov to name a few – and it’s helping us all get ready for the long grind. Training camps are so short now and guys come into camp in such great shape that you can’t wait for camp anymore to start skating, so having guys at the NHL level to skate with at this point in the summer makes it that much easier to jump into camp. There are also a lot of younger players skating there, too. It’s a good mix.

I think our team is poised for another good season. We lost some great guys in Matthew Lombardi, Zbynek Michalek and Jim Vandermeer, who did so many intangible things for us. But some of the young guys who played here in 2008-09 and then went to the minors last year, I think they’ve learned a lot and I think they’re going to be relied on to pick up the slack.

I’m really glad we added Ray Whitney to our team. I’ve never played with him, but I know him well from both of us being so old and playing against him the last 20 years. He’s going to bring a lot of creativity to our offense and our power play. It’s starting to change a littler bit, but for the last decade I don’t think too many players have been brought up as good playmakers, and he’s one of those guys. He’s really nifty with the puck. You can never read what he’s going to do. And I know, as a defenseman, that if you get open he’ll find you. It’s going to be a real treat to play with him.

Photo by Dave Segrove.
I don’t suspect we’re going to catch any teams by surprise this season, but I know that we’re a much better team right now than we were this time last year. We all know that and we also know that we have no choice - we have to better.

Someone recently asked me if I was disappointed that the team is still for sale. Of course it would be nice if it all got settled before camp started but, frankly, I don’t know what’s going on. It seems nobody really knows what’s going on except for the City of Glendale and, I guess, potential buyers. All I know is there’s nothing I can do about it so I will try not to think about it and focus on things I can control.

Well, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing everyone at Arena this season.
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