Some of the players in attendance today talked about a renewed excitement for a new season with a new head coach and a new regime. Oilers forward Sam Gagner says although there is that, camp is always exciting.
“I think there’s excitement for every camp,” said Gagner. “Every year you come in with the same hopes of turning things around and getting better. This year’s no different. Obviously, there’s heightened expectations, as there should be, with a new regime you have to expect more of yourself. We’re excited about that challenge.”
Where this camp differed was the endurance testing that first-year coach Dallas Eakins instituted before practice. It was a series of full-ice, down-and-back, skates with very little rest in between.
“It was tough. Obviously, you know what to expect going into that test. We were well aware of what we were going to be doing. That’s something you can prepare for. As far as the practice went, I felt like it was a good pace for us. It was getting guys into gear on what we needed to do and I’m excited to get games going here.”
While past training camps have all had similarities to this one, there are some differences in the drills and conditioning.
“I’ve done similar things but nothing exactly like that. We used to do tests with (former Oilers coach) Tom Renney that were similar. I’ve found this one to be a little harder, actually. It was more of a blast with a little less rest and then you’re done.”