During his visit to the Ottawa Senators Summer Hockey Camps at the Bell Sensplex earlier today, we caught up with Sens defenceman Chris Wideman to talk interacting with the "next generation of hockey players", his off-season training and more...
On visiting the campers at the Bell Sensplex this morning:
I think it's important to give back to the community. This is the next generation of hockey players and hockey fans so it's important to spend time with them and get to know them. It's enjoyable for us just as much as it is for them.
On attending hockey camps as a kid:
I definitely went to hockey camps as a kid but I don't think in St. Louis we were fortunate enough to have some of the professional guys come around. I know it would have meant a lot to me at that age so it's fun to be here, see the smiles on their faces and hear the questions they have about the other guys or the team. It's been an enjoyable morning so far.
On the off-season flying by:
It's definitely been a shorter summer. Playing until almost June definitely shortens the summer but when you make it that far it just makes you hungry to get the next season going and to get back to where we finished…and hopefully even further next year.
How the shorter off-season has impacted his training:
I think it's more of a compressed schedule. You still need to take your rest and recover from the season. For me, I've had a couple of weddings and I'm just trying to spend time with family and friends as well as making sure I'm getting ready for the season. Now in the last month, the final stretch, you have to make sure to focus, get ready and start getting back on the ice to prepare for training camp.
How he's spent his summer so far away from the gym:
I like to play golf and that's kind of my big off-season hobby. I'm not really an outdoorsman too much so that's kind of my outdoor time. I've done some travelling, a few weddings and I've just been trying to catch up with friends and family. They've been very supportive throughout my career so it's nice to spend time with them.
His plans for the final stretch of the off-season:
The last few weeks have been more focused on training and less on relaxing. I'm just excited to get the season started. When you have the success that we did last year, it only drives you to make it further and to do more. I think that's our entire group's mentality so it should be an exciting start.
On having the chance to reflect on the team's playoff run from last season:
Obviously losing in the fashion that we did was heartbreaking and I don't ever want to have to go through that again but being able to make it to Game 7 of the Conference Finals is quite a feat after an 82 game season. With some of the stuff that we encountered throughout the year and that we were able to battle through as a team and then to have success in the playoffs is pretty awesome. It's definitely an experience that I think we can draw on moving forward. We're a talented group and a group that sticks together. I think it should be an exciting year.
On how the experience of a long playoff run can fuel off-season training:
Preparing in the off-season is very important. You can't have a great year without having a great summer and that's really been my focus. Try to be in the best shape that I've ever been in coming in to training camp, play well and try to help this team win games in the regular season and in the playoffs. That's my goal and I think that's everyone's goal on this team and I think that's why we're going to be successful.
On the advantage of not having to learn a new system during training camp this year:
It's going to be a little bit different than last year where we did a lot of learning in the first few days of camp. I think guys are going to hit the ground running. You could ask anybody and everyone is excited to get back. We have two months and change left until opening night and this is about the time of year where guys start to get excited. It's going to be a fun year and I think with the hard work that we're going to put in at camp and throughout the rest of the summer it should help us have a really good start to the season.