Photo Credit: Norm Hall & Getty Images
On Friday, September 15th, the Phoenix Coyotes will officially begin the 2006-07 season with the first day of training camp.
Following a summer filled with excitement over a highly praised draft and an active role in the free agent market, fans around the Valley aren't the only ones anticipating the start of camp.
"It's very exciting," said Coyotes Defenseman Keith Ballard. "We workout all summer and now it's time to finally put everything you did together. It's fun to see all the guys again and it makes you excited for the season."
As the start of training camp has neared, so has the players' anticipation.
"This last week and a half has been painstaking because it's been so slow," said Coyotes Center Jeremy Roenick. "Everybody's ready to get going and is excited. I can't wait to get in the locker room and meet the guys and get out on the ice and be a contributor to the team."
With the additions to their roster and the external expectations facing the Coyotes, the team has set their own goals and nothing short of winning the Stanley Cup is acceptable.
"Every team starting out, your expectation has to be to win it all," said Captain Shane Doan. 'That's the reason we come out and work hard during the summer is to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. If you don't train the way and prepare that way, it's going to make it difficult and that's our goal."
"We expect to win," said Roenick. "We're not just coming here to collect a paycheck or coming to put on a show, we're coming here to win. We expect to be the Edmonton of last year, except win one more game and anyone whose expectations aren't the same coming in are pretty much wasting their time around here."
SOMETHING TO PROVE
While many players will be battling in training camp to prove they are ready to play at the NHL level, forward Jeremy Roenick is out to prove he can still play in the NHL.
After a disappointing year personally, Roenick used the summer to completely re-dedicate himself to the game and is now poised to reclaim his position as one of the game's premier offensive players.
"I just want to show people that I can play this game at an extremely high level," said Roenick. "There's a lot of people that don't think that I can and the fact of the matter is I know that I can but until I go out there and prove it, I really can't say anything about it; but there will come a day where I will get the last word."