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Training Camp

Bruce Boudreau wants faster tempo with Wild

New coach aiming to 'ramp it up' as Minnesota opens training camp

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- New season, new look, new vibe. Maybe that's not a bad thing for the Minnesota Wild.

A season of inconsistency ended with a first-round exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. New coach Bruce Boudreau will work to pave a smoother road for the Wild, beginning with his first training camp in Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center.

Traditionally, Minnesota has been a defensive team. However, Boudreau has succeeded by using an offense-oriented approach; he's won eight division titles in nine seasons with the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals, and has an NHL record of 409-192-80.

"I think [my methods have] worked pretty well, until Game 7," Boudreau said Saturday, jokingly referring to his 1-7 record in Game 7 during the playoffs. "But Game 7 is a long way away right now."

Boudreau wasted no time implementing his system on Day One of camp.

Video: NHL Tonight: Getting to Know Boudreau & Stevens

"We want to ramp it up as quick as we can. We want to have a lot of pace in our practice, even though (in training camp) it's a real mixture because we have to teach at the same time," Boudreau said. "It's not going be like a practice in December, but we don't want anything slow. We want a lot of moving parts in practice."

Working zone by zone each day, Boudreau said his main focus during camp is to figure out what each player is capable of, then build the base of how the Wild is going to play from there.

It's been a good introduction for the players as well.

"It always feels better as the days go forward and you get going in training camp," said center Eric Staal, another new face after signing a three-year contract reportedly worth $10.5 million on July 1. "I think everyone is feeling more comfortable today. [Boudreau] has been good. He's been pretty clear on what he's looking for every day and what we are building towards. I think as a player you always want to know where you are headed, and he's done a good job of teaching us that on the ice and letting us know what he's looking for.

"It's exciting. It's one of the reasons I wanted to join this already good group we have here.

Said forward Charlie Coyle: "Everyone's excited. He makes sure we keep focused, he keeps it light and reminds us that that is when we play our best hockey. I think (Day Two) was better than (Day One). Everything was a lot cleaner, passes were crisp.

"(Boudreau) has got a good track record with some great teams. They finish real well in the regular season. Just excited for him and excited for the team we have. Having that coach here now with the team we have is just a great combination."

Boudreau has no doubt his style will work in Minnesota. 

"It's been successful for me wherever I've gone," Boudreau said, "so I don't know why it won't be successful here."

General manager Chuck Fletcher said forward Tomas Fleischmann will not be joining the Wild for training camp. Boudreau said Fleischmann, 32, did not pass his physical.

"I just said goodbye (to Fleischmann) just now," Boudreau said. "He's such a good person, it's unfortunate, so I hope he catches on somewhere else, but I think it's just a disappointment. I like him enough that I want to see him succeed somewhere."

Fleischmann signed a professional tryout with the Wild on Sept. 19. The 11-year veteran has 335 points (137 goals, 198 assists) in 657 NHL games with the Capitals, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks.

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