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Wild Veterans Look Forward to Training Camp

Dubnyk, Staal have high hopes for continued regular-season success, deeper playoff push

by Kayleigh Jackson /

HUDSON, Wis. -- There's a backup at Hole No. 12 at Troy Burne Golf Club. Mikael Granlund and his teammates wait their turn at the tee box as the teams of Devan Dubnyk, Bruce Boudreau and Eric Staal sit in a cavalcade of golf carts stretching over a hill and out of sight. It's an unusually warm day for September as the temperature, like the participants' spirits, runs high.

The members of the Wild are back in town and eager to get their season started. A golf outing with corporate partners is the perfect transition back from the game they've been playing the whole offseason to the game they're about to throw themselves back into, Dubnyk says.

"It's exciting coming to camp," said the Wild goaltender, whose efforts were one big reason Minnesota finished with its best-ever regular-season record. "I thought last season was great for our whole group. I think there's no reason not to look at that as a bar ,and you're always trying to improve and get better. There's no reason not to shoot for that and more this following season.

"Everybody feels that same way."

Forward Eric Staal, entering his second year with the Wild, also said he was eager to join the preseason fray. "It should be fun," said Staal, who won the Stanley Cup in 2006 and is hopeful he'll get another day with Lord Stanley soon. "[Last year] was a great regular season but now we've got to spin that into a lot of success in the playoffs."

Video: Wild Corporate Golf Tournament

Both Dubnyk -- based in Kelowna, British Columbia -- and Staal -- from Thunder Bay, Ontario -- enjoyed their offseasons, as each have young children with whom they don't have too much time during the season. 

Dubnyk and his family bought a boat, and he said he enjoyed seeing his boys "grow up and explore some new things." Meanwhile, Staal and company did "a lot of running around with the kids" at a lake cabin, on top of recreational activities like fishing and golfing, including in the Staal Foundation Open charity tournament he hosts with his brothers. 

Despite the much-needed relaxation and family time, the offseason "always feels too long," said Dubnyk, putting the frustration of several years of early postseason exits into words.

However, the veterans are determined to avoid the same playoff mistakes this year.

"We have a good team, a good group," Staal said. "[We need to] get off to a good start and have a lot of fun during the season, hopefully racking up a lot of wins.

"I think overall, you're always trying to be consistent in all areas of the game, and for me, it's just making sure I'm in the best shape to stay healthy and contribute at both ends of the rink."

Consistency and maintaining a high skill level are important factors of his game that Staal focused on in his offseason training. 

Meanwhile, Dubnyk continued a goalie-focused workout that he's been doing for the past few years. His regimen focuses particularly on his core, hips, and some smaller muscles that may not get worked as often in traditional exercise routines.

"I'm only 31, but some days you wake up and feel old, so it becomes more important each summer to kind of add that to your program, to continue to stay healthy and mobile," he said. 

Both will be key factors in the Wild's success this season.

"There's only a few rounds of golf left," Dubnyk said.

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