By Kyle Shohara
In a way, it was the unofficial start of Ducks season, and to many, it probably felt like the first day of school. Either way, the first official day of Ducks training camp is in the books, after players underwent various fitness and medical tests, as well as headshots and interview sessions at Honda Center.
The hallways of the lower level of the arena were filled with players trying to get from one destination to another as quickly as possible. Some found time to catch up with one another after a summer apart, while for others, today served as an opportunity to meet their new teammates.
“This is the day we start the new year,” said Teemu Selanne, who’s participating in his final training camp. “But it’s one of those days you don’t want to do very often.”
Selanne, who announced this would be his final year in this widely viewed and well-received video, says he’s relieved he made his decision early on.
“You can enjoy every day,” he said. “It was a good decision to say it right away [this being his final season], and just take advantage of every day and enjoy it. That’s a good thing.”
As Selanne begins his farewell season, some players, including Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, wonder aloud if this really is his final year. “He said that six years ago, five years ago, four years ago,” Getzlaf said. “I’ll believe it when he stops coming to the rink on this day.”
Many Ducks players were seen today wearing provided t-shirts with the words Unfinished Business on the back. Players alluded to it during their exit interviews after last season’s first-round loss to the Red Wings, and the mentality has carried over into training camp.
“Quite frankly, we have higher aspirations than making the playoffs,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “I don’t make that sound as a cocky thing, but our goal is to win here.
“We want our fans to know that, so I want it to remind these guys, ‘Don’t be satisfied with what you’ve done in the past.’ We want to push forward and do better. And thusly, unfinished business is, well, it is what it is.”
When asked if this applies to players who were not a part of last year’s team, Boudreau said, “It’s like adopting a child. You’re part of the family, so it’s unfinished business for them.
“Dustin [Penner] didn’t finish what he started out to do last year, and [Jakob] Silfverberg didn’t, as well. And none of the other guys I know played on the Chicago Blackhawks. It’s unfinished business for all of us.”
Selanne echoed similar thoughts. “We all feel we have a great team here,” he said. “Last year, the way we played during the regular season was so much fun. And now when I look back, maybe it was too easy. It wasn’t easy, easy, but it was way easier than before. Maybe we just couldn’t take the next step in the playoffs. That’s why we all feel there’s unfinished business here.”
Adds Selanne, “Hopefully we all remember how disappointed we were after the last game last season. I think that team is going to help us this year. We all have a good feeling about this one. A lot of hard work ahead, but we’re here together and we have to push each other. Usually good things happen when you have a good group.”
The rookie line of the 2007 Stanley Cup champion Ducks is back together, and the trio of Penner, Getzlaf and Corey Perry hope to find the same chemistry that made them so dangerous six years ago.
Getzlaf said he talked to Ducks GM Bob Murray “a lot” and also with Boudreau about bringing Penner back to the Ducks. “One mindset that we came out of our meetings, at the end, was we were hoping to find a winger that could stay with us consistently, where we could develop that chemistry,” he said. “Dustin is one of my good friends. Last time he was here, he was energetic and excited to be here every day, and loved playing with us. And that was our mindset going out and getting him.”
Said Penner, “I’m pretty excited. It feels like home. When you start with a team, I think you always want to go back, especially in my case with the way I left.”
A lot can change in six years, and Penner took a tongue-in-cheek approach to making them known. “A few things have changed,” he said. “Perry has some chest hair now, Getzy has lot a little bit.
“It’s nice to be able to see them every day, because it’s a different type of friendship when you’re practicing every day and working out together, than it is just on the phone or through text. It’s a really nice feeling coming back here.”
ADDITIONAL TRAINING CAMP INFORMATION
The Ducks’ first on-ice session will be held tomorrow at Anaheim ICE beginning at 9:45 a.m.
From Friday, Sept. 13 through Sunday, Sept. 15, the team will take the ice at 10 a.m. and follow with a 12 p.m. scrimmage each day. All times are tentative, so fans are encouraged to visit AnaheimDucks.com for updates. The remainder of the club’s practice schedule will be announced at a later date.
Thursday, Sept. 12: Practice 9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.; 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.; 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 13: Practice 10 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.; Scrimmage: 12 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 14: Practice 10 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.; Scrimmage: 12 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 15: Practice 10 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.; Scrimmage: 12 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 16: Anaheim vs. Phoenix, 7 p.m. at Honda Center
Tuesday, Sept. 17: Anaheim vs. Los Angeles, 7 p.m. at Honda Center
Wednesday, Sept. 18: Anaheim at Colorado, 6 p.m. PDT at Pepsi Center
THE RINKS-Anaheim ICE presented by Honda is located at 300 West Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim (one mile east of the 5 freeway off the Lincoln Ave. exit). Parking is available in two separate structures adjacent to the facility.