Andrew Cogliano remembers what it was like going through his first NHL training camp. He was eager and excited, but also nervous. He had questions - plenty of them - and leaned on the guidance of veterans to help him along the way. It was something he would never forget.
The thing is, training camp can be a nerve-wracking experience for some players, especially young players looking to make an impact. There is a tremendous amount of pressure placed upon them to perform at their highest level and to prove they are capable of playing alongside the world's best players.
Veterans like Cogliano and the rest of the club's leadership core have all been through it before, and it's up to them to serve as positive role models for the up-and-comers. Now in his 11th NHL season, Cogliano says it's a duty he doesn't take lightly.
"I remember when I was a young guy going through camps," Cogliano recalled. "You look for veteran guys to reach out and help you out along the way, give you tips and show you things you might not know, so I've been trying to do that. It goes a long way for young guys in the league who want to do well but might be a little nervous."
Cogliano also knows, as a veteran and a respected leader, it's his responsibility to set a precedent early on. "You try to lead by example," he said. "The leaders of the team and the guys that have been here, those are the guys who should be leading the drills on the ice and pushing the pace."
So then how does Cogliano maximize training camp? "Just getting back into the swing of things," he said. "You practice pretty hard and get some good competition. You get a good feel for a higher pace. That's what I look for, to get my pace up and feel the puck. You're at a point now [Day 3 of camp] where you need to start competing against other guys and getting into game-like situations. You've gone through the systems, and now it's about putting it to work. When you get into the games, you have to execute."
In the Absence of Kesler
One of the topics surrounding the Ducks during training camp is how they're going to fare without Ryan Kesler in the lineup, and the adjustments that will need to be made as the shutdown center continues to recover from offseason hip surgery. With the possibility that Kesler could miss the first two months of the season, the onus will be placed on others to collectively rise up in his absence. Kesler's longtime right wing Jakob Silfverberg is one of those players.
"I'm going to have to take another step forward and make sure I bring my best game," said Silfverberg. "I've been playing with Kes and Cogs for the better part of my time here, so it's a tough loss. It's going to be tough to match whatever he does. It all comes down to the work you put in during the summer. I felt ready right after the season ended and wanted to get into summer workouts. I feel good out there right now. I have the tempo. I've done all the pre-work. I just need to make sure I have a good camp."
Cogliano adds, "[Kesler's] a strong, powerful veteran guy that's been around for a long time. We lean on him for a lot of situations. It's going to open up opportunities for other guys to step up and play bigger roles. We're going to need that. It's going to put emphasis on guys being ready."
The Ducks will hold their annual training camp scrimmage tomorrow at THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE beginning at 10 a.m. The scrimmage will be open to the public and free of charge.
Video: Andrew Cogliano on camp and his leadership role