by Alyn McCauley
-- Leaf centre and all-around good guy
Camp got started with fitness testing and I felt good about my results but it's always a tough thing to go through. You really tire your body out and you're expected come out and perform at your highest level less than 24 hours later.
For the younger guys it's a new experience that they don't expect and it's probably a lot tougher on them. Not to say that the veteran guys don't go at 100 per cent at testing but they know they're going to be expected to give it their all the next day.
I got an injury (hip flexor) early in camp and that can be frustrating. Everybody's at the same level for the most part and you're here to get your feel back when everybody's doing the same things. You're also missing out on getting used to the new players on the team. So injuries are not a very fun thing at any time of the year but especially at the start of the season. It took me a little while to get back in there but once I did, I felt comfortable.
| Alyn is hoping to have a breakout year with the Leafs. |
Graig Abel Photography
The new guys we have are great and I've always been impressed with the way the team takes new guys in. Since my first year here, Mats, Tie and myself are the only players that remain, I've met a lot of new players and there're always welcomed in and made to feel like part of the team.
The quicker you do that the faster you get on the winning track and possibly get the Stanley Cup over your head at the end of the year.
Early on in camp it was a little frustrating the way we would win one then lose one. We weren't really on the same page but the last few games I thought we battled much better as a team. The last game was bit of a stinker but the game before that, we lost Bryan McCabe (game misconduct) and Travis Green (head injury) in Montreal and still found a way to win when we were down going into the third. It's a nice morale boost.
Getting to play with Shayne Corson and Mikael Renberg through training camp has been good. We all bring similar traits but have enough different ones to make us a good line. Those guys are very strong on the puck and have had quite a few goals over their NHL careers as well.
My job is just to help them the best I can, whether that is getting open, supporting them when they are trying to dig the puck out or just trying to make some smart plays. This year I want to be more productive at the offensive end and playing with guys like that I think it can happen. Talk to you soon
, Alyn McCauley Check back soon for the next installment of "A Player's Journal" with Alyn McCauley