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A Look at Camp Through the Eyes of Zach Parise

Forward hopes to put back injury behind him as he begins his 12th NHL season and fifth with Minnesota

by Zach Parise / Wild forward

Different players have different views of training camp based on a number of factors. Among them: NHL experience and contract status. 

Wild.com has caught up with several Wild players, all with varying approaches to camp. Over the course of the preseason, you'll read about these views in a series entitled "Camp Through Their Eyes," a glimpse into the mind of a professional tryout, a rookie, a veteran, a superstar and a goaltender.

Today, you'll hear from Zach Parise, widely considered among the best players in the NHL. Parise, who agreed to a 13-year, $98 million contract on July 4, 2012, has been a centerpiece of the Wild's four consecutive trips to the postseason; Minnesota is one of just seven teams to accomplish that feat since he signed with the club. A veteran of 761 NHL games, his next goal will mark the 300th of his career:

"I still view training camp like I always have. I like playing in the exhibition games, because that's the way you get yourself in shape and you get yourself adjusted to the game speed. But I always approach it the same, whether it was my second camp or now, it's fun a fun time of the year when people are back and excited and everyone is hungry to start the year. It's a fun atmosphere to be in.

"I like to use training camp to get into shape and get myself as ready as I can to start the season. You work out for a long time and you skate for a long time in the summer, so whether it's resting the right amount because camps are harder, practices are hard, you kind of feel out what your body needs for that first game that you're going to play. Every guy is different, but you have to find what works. 

"This summer was different because I never really stopped skating because it was a part of my rehab. Usually, after the season ends, I'll take a month and a half or almost two months off of the ice. This summer, I didn't do that. It took a little while to get feeling normal in the weight room and on the ice with the therapy and getting my body back into balance. It was a unique year, training wise, and on top of that, a little earlier start with the World Cup. It was a little different summer, a different preparation than it has been in years past.

"Bruce [Boudreau] has been great. It's a great atmosphere. There's been a lot of teaching from him and Scott Stevens and John Anderson. There's a lot of teaching on the ice, a lot of good video sessions. We're learning and I think with our team, there's so much potential and room for improvement, I think this coaching staff … I know from a playing standpoint, we're all excited to play for them. 

"But as a player, too, you know how smart these coaches are and you believe so much in what they're telling you and what they want you to do. That makes practices fun, coming to the rink fun. I'm looking forward to playing for them. I haven't been here as long as some other guys, but in the time I've been here, that's the sense that I've gotten.

"You try and learn systems right away because you're hopping right into a game after a few practices then another game. There are things that they have already covered where you catch yourself thinking, 'What are we doing, because that's different than what we've done in the past.' Even in the preseason games, you kind of catch yourself, 'Oh, I need to go here now,' where it was different before. But as you play more and practice more, that stuff becomes second nature. But it's been different, it's been a little adjustment."

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