Fifty-seven players are in camp trying to earn a spot on the 23-man roster for the season opener against Boston, which will take place at the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic on Oct. 9.
After being hired late in training camp last season, Head Coach Dave Tippett will be running his first full camp in 2010-11.
|Radim Vrbata skates with the puck on Saturday. Photo by Norm Hall. |
“(Associate Coach) Ulf Samuelsson did an excellent job last year preparing and making sure the players were ready, and that’s what we want to continue this year,” Tippett said Saturday. “Ulf and I talked quite a bit about how things went last year and the things we wanted to do going into this season, and that won’t change this year.”
The players were split into three teams for Saturday’s workouts. The first day of on-ice workouts are designed to get players settled into the competitive environment again.
“Just as we expected, first day, there’s lots of energy, lots of enthusiasm,” Tippett said. “I think the execution is going to improve. But the first day is everybody getting their legs under them, (and) getting the anxious energy out.”
Forward Wojtek Wolski said training camp is a challenging part of the season and requires a lot of hard work.
“I don’t think there will be one guy that you’ll ask that will say ‘Oh, I’m so excited about training camp,’” Wolski said. “I think it’s more about using this time to get ready. We’ve had a long summer, everyone has worked very hard, but now it’s time to bond as a team, to get ready, to get in shape.”
While some established veterans use training camp to prepare for the season, other players use it to earn a roster spot.
|Kyle Turris scored a goal on Saturday. Photo by Norm Hall. |
Forward Kyle Turris is one of those players who is in camp trying to earn a job in the NHL. Turris scored a goal off a pass from defenseman David Schlemko
in Saturday’s scrimmage. Afterward, Turris talked about how this year’s training camp is an important one for him.
“There’s a lot of competition, that’s for sure, so I’m just trying to work my butt off and do everything I can to make this team,” Turris said.
Competition has been the buzz word around the dressing rooms in camp as Tippett has introduced the theme “Up the Ante” for this season.
“That’s something we’ve stressed all along, and we really put an onus on it because of our situation with Prague. We have to make sure we’re ready to go,” Tippett said. “…Our training camp is a little shorter, but we have to make sure we get the work done. We don’t want players just coming in here and coasting around for a few days and then get going, we want to get going right from the first day.”
Wolski said he noticed a high “compete level” on Saturday, even from the veterans.
“You’ve got to play hard, you’ve got to compete,” Wolski said. “It’s just one of those things where you’re used to it, it’s what you have to do and it’s just part of the game.”
And while some players are preparing for the season and trying to earn a roster spot, others are trying to integrate themselves into a new position.
|Wojtek Wolski |
Wolski, a winger, played center in Saturday’s scrimmage between Team A and Team B. He said he’s open to the switch but will need some help in making it.
“It’s going to be a big change, I think,” Wolski said. “I’m sure it will be tough at the beginning, but I expect that. I think there’s a lot to learn and the coaching staff will obviously help me along the way. That’s all you can ask for, is people to guide you and give you support.”
While different players are working on different things at training camp, defenseman Ed Jovanovski said it’s all for one common goal: To build upon the winning culture that Tippett and his staff installed in 2009-10.
“There’s definitely a lot of work to be done,” Jovanovski said. “We’re not going to fool anyone. This year everyone knows what the Coyotes are all about. We work hard and get in there. Our goaltending has been a strong point for us. We hope that’s just as good for us this year. But it’s going to be a challenging year, that’s for sure. It’s going to be tough.
The team’s first scrimmage was a competitive one that featured lots of energy. Team ‘A’ beat Team ‘B", 2-1, thanks to goals by Turris and Shane Doan
. Radim Vrbata
scored for Team B.
The first preseason game for the Coyotes is Tuesday night at Anaheim.