Gosh, it feels good to smell the ice again. What, you ask? Next time you’re in a hockey rink when you haven’t been in awhile, just open up your nose and take a deep breath in through your nose.
The 2009 Development Camp is officially underway as of today with the first on-ice session. It was closed to the public, but remember that Sunday’s scrimmage at Xcel Energy Center (12:30 p.m. CDT) is open to the public.
Houston Aeros coaches Kevin Constantine, Troy Ward and Luke Strand, along with Wild goalie coach Bob Mason, were on the ice for the session, which lasted almost two hours. There was a power skating session with new strength and conditioning coach Chris Pietrzak-Wegner at the beginning, followed by drills.Tyler Cuma
and Nick Leddy were the most sought-after for media interviews upon the conclusion of the skate. We had three television stations, one newspaper and, of course, Wild TV on hand. Cuma looks like he’s fully recovered from last season’s knee injury. Matt Kassian
, with a 1984 birthday the oldest member of Development Camp, got a good shot in at Cuma, who was wearing a Team Canada shirt. “Does that stand for Tyler Cuma
, or Team Canada?”
That got some laughs, but not as many as Kassian’s shaving cream incident with Leddy, the Wild’s first-round pick last month. Leddy was doing an interview with Fox 9, and Kassian swooped in from the back of the locker room and pasted the youngster with the shaving cream towel all over his face. I’m sure you’ll be seeing that on Fox 9 in the coming days. Leddy did a couple more interviews, with me standing watch. He’ll also chat with ESPN The Magazine this afternoon, and FOX Sports North is coming to do a feature on him Friday.
Peter Kalus, who went to Russia to play in the middle of last season, is back but wasn’t on the ice today due to illness. He said he’ll be on the ice later this week. Also in attendance was new Wild assistant coach Dave Barr, who watched from the stands along with Todd Richards, Mike Ramsey and Tommy Thompson.
The new sheet of ice was just put in last week, and its condition got better as practice went along. Last night, Wild TV’s Travis Brillowski (if you haven’t checked out his Nick Leddy behind the scenes video, it’s a must see: click here
) apparently melted most of the ice with his white-hot, four-goal performance in employee hockey.
The Development Camp skaters will be back on the ice tomorrow in a suburban ice rink because Il Divo plays Xcel Energy Center tomorrow. After that, the guys won't skate again until Friday, and I’ll check back in after the skate here in St. Paul.