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Conditioning Test the Highlight of Camp's First Day

Up-tempo practice mixed with plenty of whiteboard work as players adjust to new system

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

Wild Training Camp Day 1 Group A

Wild Training Camp Day 1 Group A

Charlie Coyle, Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker talk about their first on-ice session of Wild training camp

  • 01:42 •

Even though Wild players knew it was coming, it didn't make it any easier. 

With a new coaching staff and new systems to digest, the highlight of the first day of coach Bruce Boudreau's first training camp were the conditioning tests performed at the end of each practice session. 

The test required players to skate 4 1/2 lengths of the ice, three separate times with two minute breaks in between. Players had 38 seconds to complete the first rotation and 41 seconds in the second and third trips.

Failure to complete the test in time meant two more sprints with the rest of the group watching.

Three players were forced to do extra sprints, a pass rate that left Boudreau pleased. 

"The guys that passed it with flying colors, you could tell really worked hard this summer and wanted to get ready," Boudreau said. "The veteran guys, they got through it pretty easy, which is why they did three instead of five times. You need a barometer every year."

Boudreau said the conditioning test is something he did every year he was in Anaheim, with the exception of one; last season, when the Ducks started the campaign with a 1-7-2.

"I was going to make sure that we had it," Boudreau said.

One of the stars of the conditioning test in the afternoon session was veteran Eric Staal, participating in his first career training camp for a team other than the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Entering his 13th NHL season, Staal breezed through his conditioning heat and centered a line of Jason Pominville and Jordan Schroeder that Boudreau said he was impressed with. 

For Staal, he said he was excited to finally get on the ice after a busy summer, first signing with the Wild, then meeting new teammates. He's been in the Twin Cities for about a month already, and his eagerness to get the season going was starting to get palpable.

"I've been really looking forward to it," Staal said. "When you sign, you know there's going to be change and something different coming out of your career. Now that day is here and to start off, it felt really good."

Before players could be conditioned, Boudreau and the coaching staff put the players through a rigorous session that was quick and crisp. Between several breaks for white-board work, players were moving and didn't have much time to stand around.

Boudreau didn't do much yelling, instead choosing to pull players aside for a quick meeting if he wanted to see something different.  

"Just to refresh everyone's minds, the first day, it's going to take a little bit of time," said Wild forward Charlie Coyle. "There's going to be some times and lose focus and [the white board sessions] get stuff back in your head mentally to do it right. It will get better as the days go along."

The defensemen were often in contact with assistant coach Scott Stevens, a Hall of Fame player himself who was communicating expectations with players on the back end.

"Learning a lot of the d-zone structure, that's huge," said defenseman Matt Dumba. "Any good team, that's where they base their structure from, being good in the d-zone."

Parise makes an appearance

Wild forward Zach Parise made a quick appearance at Xcel Energy Center after arriving home from his time with Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. The Americans played their final game of the tournament on Thursday night, a 4-3 loss to the Czech Republic.

Parise and Ryan Suter, as well as Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula won't be on the ice until Monday, but Parise wanted to stop by to drop off his equipment and meet with his teammates.

"Just shows how much he loves the game," Boudreau said. "He said hi to the guys. I think he misses them all."

Fleischmann not available, at least for now

Tomas Fleischmann, signed to a professional tryout earlier this week, did not take part in either practice session after he failed his physical. 

Fleischmann was at the arena on Friday but his immediate future with the team isn't known yet as the team continues to run tests.

"He didn't pass the physical. I couldn't tell you what it was," Boudreau said. "He's done for today. I don't know the results or anything else. We'll find out."

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