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Three Things to Watch for at Training Camp

There are plenty of things to keep an eye on as the Wild opens its first training camp under coach Bruce Boudreau

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild will officially begin its 17th training camp Friday morning at Xcel Energy Center.

Here are three things to monitor when it comes to the action on the ice:

1. The Wild has two professional tryouts in camp with a combined 1,130 games of NHL experience in Ryan Carter and Tomas Fleischmann.

Carter, a native of White Bear Lake, Minn., is familiar to Wild fans after having spent his last two seasons playing for his hometown team. Carter has just 25 points in those two seasons, but scoring isn't necessarily his game. While he tied a career high with seven goals a year ago, Carter is valuable because he can play on the wing or at center, is a reliable penalty killer and is a tremendous influence in the dressing room. 

Fleischmann has more offense to his game, having scored 137 goals in 657 career games in the NHL, including 14 last season with Montreal and Chicago. 

A left wing, Fleischmann also has an extensive history with Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, having played for him in the American Hockey League with the Hershey Bears, and for him in the NHL in both Washington and Anaheim. 

His connection with Boudreau was the driving force behind why he chose to attend camp with the Wild instead of the handful of other teams who extended him offers. 

"[He] was the main reason I wanted to come here," Fleischmann said. "I only had a good experience playing for him. Everybody knows he's a player's coach."

2. Wild players returning from the World Cup will have some time to unwind before getting back to work on Monday.

Team USA's Ryan Suter and Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula of Team Finland will return from Toronto on Friday but will not be expected to take part in the first few days of training camp.

Boudreau said Thursday it's important for those players to get a chance to rest and re-charge their batteries before jumping into the grind of the NHL season.

"They've had training camp since Sept. 4, so they're in shape," Boudreau said. "The married guys have been away from their family for a long time, so we want to give them a little time to get back united and have some fun because training camp, you don't see a lot of your family in that either."

Nino Niederreiter, playing for Team Europe, will be busy with the semifinals of the World Cup this weekend before returning to the team sometime next week.

3. Practice will be run a little different with Boudreau at the helm.

Former Wild coach Mike Yeo liked to scrimmage early in camp to get an idea of how his team would perform in game-type situations. 

Boudreau's preference is not to scrimmage, at least in the first few days. Instead, the veteran coach is expected to go hard on system work early so that it quickly becomes second nature. 

"We'll be working on things to try to get to know what we're capable of doing right off the bat," Boudreau said. "Hopefully by the fourth day we've got the basis of everything of how we're going to play."

Boudreau is also expected to keep things moving with little time for standing around.

"We want to ramp it up as quick as we can," Boudreau said. "We want to have a lot of pace in our practice even though it's a real mixture because we have to teach it at the same time. It's not gonna be like a practice in December but at the same time, we don't want anything slow. We want a lot of moving parts in practice."

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