|Jamie Benn getting his headshot taken prior to leaving for PEI
Dallas Stars 2010 Training Camp officially got under way Friday with physicals and photos at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco. Most of the 53 players headed to camp were on-hand, with some exceptions. Most notably, James Neal – who was in Ontario after signing a new two-year deal on Thursday evening with the Stars. He will meet the team in Prince Edward Island (PEI).
“I’m happy to get the contract done and behind me so I can concentrate on playing hockey,” Neal said. “It was a long process and I am ready to get going.”
Neal spent a good chunk of the summer working out with former NHL’er Gary Roberts in Ontario.
“Working with Gary has been great. He really pushes you and he knows what you need to do to improve as a player. I feel quicker and stronger and more confident. It was really a good experience for me. I want to have a good year and I think the work I did with Gary will pay off.”
For General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk, getting all players under contract prior to the start of camp was a big deal.
“It was important to get James and Matt signed and we're glad it's done. It's important to have our team together for the start of camp, and I think it will be a good start on PEI. This is really a good feeling for us right now, and we want that to carry on. We are determined to work hard and have a good year.”
The first day of camp started early, with physicals at 7 am for many, and they didn’t mess around – the team was gone and on their way to the airport by 11 am.
“We’re all very excited about training camp,” said head coach Marc Crawford. “PEI will be a great experience for the entire team and a chance to bond together right off the bat.
“We’re focused on having a good year and our goal is to get back to the playoffs. It’s good to get back to playing some hockey.”
The Stars will literally get back to playing some hockey on Saturday morning at the CARI Complex on the campus of the University of PEI, which will also include an informal scrimmage. Practice is open to the public and free.
Sunday will feature a full team scrimmage at the Charlottetown Civic Centre at 1 p.m. (PEI time). Tickets are $20, if you happen to be in the great Northeast.
The team will fly back to Dallas on Monday in time to start pre-season action, with the Stars hosting the Lightning on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. The team will hold most of their practices in Frisco during the week (as always – open to the public).
Fans will be able to get updates, pictures and more from the team in Charlottetown on Twitter by following Ralph Strangis (@RalphStrangis
) and the club (@DallasStars