Another day of Ducks camp has come and gone, and much like yesterday, the on-ice work today focused on speed and tenacity. Head coach Randy Carlyle wants his team to attack, but also wants his players to know their roles on the team. So the drills used today were not only meant to push the players, but to also prove who's best suited to help this team succeed.
"We're looking for people who understand there's another step, and they're prepared to do what's necessary," Carlyle said today after practice. "We expect you to do what you do best. If you're a checker, you come and check. If you're a goalie, stop the puck. We expect you to be a good teammate. Make a commitment to help this group take the next step. That's been the message from our veteran players right through to our young players and PTOs."
As one of the most experienced members of this team, Antoine Vermette says he likes what he sees thus far in camp.
"We've had two great days," said Vermette. "Guys have been working hard on and off the ice. It's a lot of work, but it's fun. You're going to face a couple days that are lengthier than you see in the season for obvious reasons. We're creating good habits. Randy is preaching a few things structure-wise, discipline and attention to detail."
The 34-year-old has tremendous respect for the game and his teammates, and says he's honored to wear the Ducks 'D' logo.
"You should wear that logo with pride," he said. "You're representing your teammates and a solid organization. It's a great team. I've been around quite a bit in this league. I take a lot of pride in a few things out there. We need to help each other and respect each other."
Fellow newcomer Jared Boll is in the midst of his first training camp away from Columbus, Ohio, where he spent the first nine years of his career. Known for his grit and willingness to drop the gloves, Boll says he's enjoyed the first two days of camp in Anaheim.
"Practices have been fast, so it's been a good couple first days," he said. "It's been a lot of skating and battling down low. You can watch the World Cup and see how fast these teams are. That's the way the league is going. You can tell by these first few practices."
Carlyle says his plan remains the same, and that's to give the players that have competed (or are still competing) in the World Cup of Hockey a few days of rest upon returning before joining the Ducks on the ice. Sami Vatanen and Ryan Kesler returned yesterday, and John Gibson is scheduled to arrive tonight. All three are expected to practice early next week. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry of Team Canada play later today against Russia in the semi-finals, while Jakob Silfverberg and Hampus Lindholm of Team Sweden face Team Europe tomorrow.
"We need to allow them to rest and decompress," said Carlyle. "They've been at it since the first of September, so they've had a training camp underneath them. But we don't want them to lose that edge they've already got on people. We just have to make sure we manage it properly."
Even if his World Cup players return as late as next Sunday (Game 3 of the final would be played on Saturday), Carlyle still says they'll take part in Anaheim's preseason, which concludes Sunday, Oct. 9 against the San Jose Sharks at Honda Center.
"There's always a concern when you don't have your people, but this situation is pretty unique," said Carlyle. "They're world-class players, so we've already discussed a plan when they come back and they're available to us, but it's going to have to happen on a day-to-day basis.
"They're going to play games. Simple as that. I don't know how many, but they're going to play. We need to prepare our group to play at the start of the season."
TRAINING CAMP CONTINUES
Day 3 of training camp will be held tomorrow at Anaheim Ice, with practice beginning at 9 a.m. The on-ice session is open to the public, and free of charge.
Sunday, Sept. 25: Practices for Groups A, B & C run 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. on both Olympic and NHL rinks
Monday, Sept. 26: Scrimmage, 10:00 a.m.