The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim will take on the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night as both teams open up their pre-season schedule. Prior to the 7:30 pm contest, the American Hockey League clubs of each organization will entertain the hockey fans. That first game is scheduled to begin at 4:00pm.
After the first four days of training camp for the Mighty Ducks, Head Coach Randy Carlyle had these thoughts on what he has seen.
“There’s always room for improvement,” says Carlyle. “The most difficult part about the first four days is the three hour rule. And that’s the rule you are provided with, the time frame you get to work with these players. It doesn’t allow you to give them the rest you are used to. Before the rule was implemented, you’d have a scrimmage in the morning, come back for a scrimmage in the afternoon.”
“Now things have changed in that you are only allowed three hours,” said Carlyle. “I think it’s important that we feel we have covered some of the basics to prepare ourselves for the weekend. Our players have reported in excellent condition. There’s a higher level that we are going to push for in the execution department. The exhibition games are an opportunity for people to make a first impression against the opposition.”
The Ducks will play a total of eight pre-season games preparing for the regular season.
“As a coach, you’d always like to evaluate your players in the closest things to creating game like situations.” added Carlyle. “From a player’s perspective, eight is more than enough. I can remember as a player that I didn’t look forward to playing in seven of eight exhibition games. You did when you were younger, but the more miles you have on you, the attitude changes towards the veteran player. But, this is a different situation because we missed fifteen months. Obviously, as a coach, we are very, very happy that we have that amount to prepare our team.”
The Mighty Ducks will play their first home pre-season game on Wednesday, September 21st versus San Jose at 7:30pm.
Ducks forward Joffrey Lupul has these impressions of the first few days of training camp.
“Real good,” said Lupul. “I think everyone is really excited to be back. It’s a competitive camp. Lots of young guys and lots of guys from the American League team are really pushing guys hard out there. Today, being the fourth day was a little bit slower than the rest. I think everyone is getting a little tired, but the first three days were really good. The scrimmages were pretty crisp. The puck is being moved well. Everyone is just working hard.”
What does Lupul want to accomplish this season?
“The first year I was here, I really didn’t know anything,” says Lupul. “I didn’t know how long I was going to be here and what the league was about. My expectation that year was to make the team, stay with the team, which I did. This year, my first goal is to make the team. I think now I can be a player who has a little more impact than I did my first year. I’m two years older. I feel a lot stronger and faster, so I think I can be a player who can be consistent night in and night out this year.”
Anaheim forward Petr Sykora with his thoughts on the early days of training camp.
“There’s been a lot of skating,” says Sykora. “I think that’s because of the changing of the rules. You are going to have to skate. There is no holding, so the more you stay on the move, the better it will be. So, that’s why we are skating for three hours. I think it’s awesome. I think for the game the key is going to be skating. I think the camp is really relaxed and positive. The coaches are trying to keep it as fun as possible. I just can’t complain. It’s awesome.”