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Prospects Get Put Through Paces On Camp Day Two

by Dan Myers / Minnesota Wild

ST. PAUL — The look and structure of day two at Wild Development Camp was similar to day one as players and coaches hit the ice for a second day of work at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday.

Coaches pushed players through a high-tempo morning session that included plenty of work on skating. Team Green, which was on the ice second, spent nearly half of their morning session working on skating form and edge drills.

Many of the drills were led by Iowa Head Coach Derek Lalonde, who was much more vocal on Wednesday than he was Tuesday. While NHL assistants John Anderson, Scott Stevens and Darby Hendrickson were largely responsible for the action on the ice on Tuesday, Lalonde and his Iowa staff took more control on Wednesday.

It’s all a part of the plan put forth by the Wild’s Director of Player Development, Brad Bombardir.

“Bomber has done a real good job of getting the guys different voices,” Lalonde said. “There is so much going in for these guys and you don’t want to overwhelm them. But you do want to start hitting on some things that we want to touch on and an identity that we want to be.”

In that regard, Lalonde and assistants David Cunniff and Pascal Rheaume stressed speed and pace during their morning session.

“The one thing we talked about today was fast, not only fast in our habits and what we’re doing, but we’re fast in our approach too,” Lalonde said. “That’s just the way I am on the ice and most of my practices will look like that. I wanted to give the guys a feel of, when you spend time with me in Iowa, the expectations of Bruce [Boudreau] on the big club is that we’re going to practice fast with tempo and I think that’s what we saw today.”

One thing coaches haven’t stressed much through two days: Systems. While many players at this week’s camp will be with the Iowa Wild during the upcoming season, others will be returning to their college or junior teams in the fall.

That’s why a vast majority of work done by all players this week will focus on the meat and potatoes aspects of the game.

“There are certain habits that everyone needs,” Bombardir said. “They have to learn how to play, how to play in certain areas and all these habits are pretty much a foundation for whether you can play in the National Hockey League or not.”

If system play is broached, it’s usually with the older players who have already played at the professional level. But with new coaching staffs in place both in Minnesota and in Iowa, Bombardir said they won’t get too deep into that stuff, at least not yet.

“How to approach the game, and how to approach it in certain areas,” Bombardir said. “More habits than anything else.”

After a lunch break as well as film and meetings with coaches, players were on the ice again in the afternoon, working on skill specific drills that helped the prospects improve their puck possession and net-front presence. Hendrickson, Anderson and Andrew Brunette worked with forwards on wall work and net-front presence.

“I thought that was great,” Lalonde said. “Coming from guys like that, obviously Bruno, his identity during his career was playing along the wall and net front.”

Stevens and Cunniff worked with defensemen on their positional habits as well as defending odd-man rushes.

“Those were extremely productive,” Lalonde said.

Coaches and fans will get their first look at the prospects in a game-type setting on Thursday when they play the first of two scrimmages that are open to the public. The Wild will livestream both scrimmages at wild.com.

Thursday’s scrimmage begins at 2:30 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center and is free. After another work day on Friday and Saturday, the Wild will conclude camp on Sunday with a final scrimmage that will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday’s scrimmage is also free and open to the public.

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