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Testing Day

by Jen Sharpe / Edmonton Oilers
Jordan Eberle completes a fitness test during Day 1 of Oilers Rookie Camp at Rexall Place September 10, 2010.

After a long off-season, the first stage of the 2010-11 season started Friday morning when Oilers rookies reported for fitness and medical testing at Rexall Place.

For players like Jordan Eberle and Alex Plante, the testing process is familiar; for others, like 2010 first overall draft pick Taylor Hall, the VO2 Max, Wingate test, and introductory haircut were completed for the first time.

"I've never done those tests before because I didn't get to do it at the Combine, so it's really hard when you're doing it but I feel fine now," Hall said after testing. "You know you're in the NHL when you walk up to the pictures thing and they've got a hairdresser waiting for you."

Although this is Magnus Paajarvi's first NHL rookie camp, he entered the challenging day with a mature attitude.

"This is what I've been waiting for for months, I believe, and I just want this test over so I can go on the ice and play some games," the Swedish first-rounder said. "You think about it, for the fitness test, but you really shouldn't because you just go out there and do your best and you see how it goes."

With two previous Oilers rookie camps on his resume, Jordan Eberle is taking it all in stride and having a little fun with Hall, while at it.

"I kept looking at his scores -- we were competing pretty well. We're roommates, so it's nice to have bragging rights," he said. "I said after we're done all this we have to go for a cheeseburger or something because it's kind of a ritual, actually. We've done that ever since my first year of camp."

Although the pressure is on the players to perform, Head Coach Tom Renney insisted that final results aren't everything.

"I watch the body language and see how players interact with each other, how they interact with the tester," he explained. "There's sort of a subliminal opportunity there to evaluate things.

I guess the fun begins now. I'm looking forward to camp. I can't wait to get on the ice and start skating and get this going. - Jordan Eberle
"I think the one thing you don't want to do is be a cloud over their heads. They have to feel like there's some freedom to go in there and be themselves and do their thing."

With the fitness testing behind him, Eberle was eager to move on to the second phase of Rookie Camp: the Canucks Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C.

"This is the day you always dread when you go to camp -- it's nice to get it over with," he said with a laugh. "I guess the fun begins now. I'm looking forward to camp. I can't wait to get on the ice and start skating and get this going."

Don't miss our coverage of the Young Stars Tournament, including live streaming webcasts of the games, right here on
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