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A Look at Camp Through the Eyes of Chris Stewart

Veteran forward is entering his ninth NHL season and first full campaign with the Wild

by Chris Stewart @CStew_80 / 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 Chris Stewart, a veteran forward entering his ninth NHL season. Traded to the Wild at the trade deadline two years ago, Stewart played in 20 games with Minnesota before signing with Anaheim prior to last season, where he played for one year under current Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. Stewart signed a two-year contract with Minnesota on July 1:

"When I was younger, I would say sometimes veteran guys got the benefit of the doubt to use camp to get in shape. But now, with hockey, there's no offseason. Guys go from playoffs, to Worlds, to Stanley Cup. I mean, look at Sidney Crosby. He wins the Stanley Cup and probably started training and didn't have an offseason at all because he started training for the World Cup of Hockey. 

"It's a year around sport now. At the end of the season, you do get to take a couple of weeks off but after that, you have to hit the gym and start building again.

"You're definitely not going to be in game shape yet at training camp. There is only one way to mimic that and that's by playing games. You use every day as a building block and you can't look too far ahead to Opening Night, but you gotta have your game feeling right within the first couple of games and get that energy right, get the bangs in and get the timing back. It's all not going to happen overnight, but the goal is, during the next couple of weeks, to learn the systems and execute them, that's the main focus.

"I assume we're going to be an aggressive team, get in on the forecheck, probably send two guys. We've got great defensemen and some young guys that can jump up into the rush and I assume they're going to have the green light to go. But we're going to lock it down defensively, too. 

"We won the Jennings Trophy last season [in Anaheim] with both the goalies and that's not by accident. It's definitely the system he is going to implement, it's just going to take some time to learn but it definitely does work. You have to trust it.

"It's good to feel wanted, that's for sure. Bruce has always been a straight shooter, I've always known where I've stood with him and I can respect that even if I don't agree with it. At the end of the day, you can respect it because it's the God honest truth."

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