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Stars Open Camp With Pace

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars hit the ice for their first practice of training camp at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Thursday, and the word of the day might have been pace.

“It was a great pace,” said Stars GM Jim Nill. “Lindy (Ruff) is a very good coach as we all know. I loved the crispness of the practice. It was a high pace. It was all business out there. They worked hard and that is what we’re looking for.”

The on-ice sessions, which included a practice session for one group of players and a scrimmage between two other groups of players, were the first under Ruff, whom Nill hired as the new head coach of the Stars back in June.

“I thought the pace of the practice was really good,” said Ruff. “The first thing you notice is the speed. In the compete drills, the guys worked real hard. In the scrimmage, the ice got a little bit tough, but I thought in the practice the players did a nice job with the stuff we tried to work on in the offensive zone. It was a good first day.”

The compete level was high the first day of practice as well. In the morning’s first practice session with Group A, there were several competitive drills, including one-on-ones.

“There were a lot of one-on-one’s. That was great,” said forward Antoine Roussel. “In a training camp like this you want to get involved, those bumps, those physical plays right away. You feel good about it after that.”

The scrimmage between the Groups B and C was physical at times, with several good hits thrown.

“It’s the first thing (Ruff) said in the meeting last night – we’re here to compete,” said center Shawn Horcoff. “We’re going to be a team that competes.”

Thursday was the first of three days of practice in Fort Worth for the Stars. They’ll practice and scrimmage there again Friday and hold an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday before opening their exhibition slate with a game against the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center on Sunday.

“It was fun being around the guys and just seeing how intense Lindy is. It was a good first practice,” said left wing Jamie Benn. “We have three days here to get a little bit of chemistry and then we play our first exhibition game on Sunday. We are definitely jumping right back into it. It’s an exciting time.”

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