|Participating in their first Senators training camp are, from left, Joe Corvo, Dean McAmmond and Jamie Allison. Photo: T. Anderson/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
While several Senators players have been holding informal workouts over the last three weeks, the 2006-07 season officially kicked off today with physicals, medicals, photo shoots and an on-ice workout. After a summer away, the players are excited to be reunited.
"It's like the first day of school," says forward Antoine Vermette. "I'm happy to be back. At some point in the summer, going to the gym just isn't the same. It's great to be back and see the boys."
As one of a handful of newcomers at this year's camp, defenceman Tom Preissing has enjoyed his first few days in Ottawa.
"I'm not the only fish out of water here, other guys are new, too," he says. "It's nice for us to have a few weeks to get comfortable with the system and the guys. Everyone has been great in welcoming me. Some of these exercises might not be so fun, but it's a good concept to start over with a new team and new season."
Strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee is impressed with the results from Day 1 of training camp.
"The vets have come back in good shape. We keep results and we have year-to-year comparisons. They have targets they want to meet. The guys were anxious for this. Some of them were here at 7 a.m. for 8:30 a.m. testing."
For 2006 first-round draft pick Nick Foligno, participating in the Senators development camp earlier this summer has eased his mind coming into training camp.
"You come in now and you know that everyone is hear to help you. They're not going to put you behind the 8-ball. The (development camp) helped teach what things will be like. You learned the ropes."
Coach Bryan Murray appreciates the positive impact these camps can have on young players like Foligno.
"For the young guys this is a real place to start from. It's an evaluating process and they can see what things they can do away from practice. This year we tried to divide the group fairly evenly into two groups. In the first six (pre-season) games we'll alternate games between Group 1 and Group 2. As a result, there's more of a chance for each player to get into more games, and with better players.
Click here and visit ottawasenators.com's photo gallery to see photos from Day 1 of training camp.