Brian Rolston isn’t new to Minnesota, he’s just new to the Minnesota Wild. Until today. The Flint, Michigan native and 10-year NHL veteran will don a Wild jersey for the first time at training camp today as he skates with his new teammates. Today marks the end of a long wait for Rolston who signed with the Wild in the summer of 2004 and lived in Minnesota during the entire lockout season.
“I really am excited to get started,” said Rolston on Monday, the eve of training camp. My family and I spent the whole year in Minnesota to get acclimated to the area. I’m from Michigan and it’s very similar here. I’m excited to see what hockey’s all about here in Minnesota. I know it’s a great place to play and I’m excited about it.”
Like many NHLers, Rolston has always been impressed when he’s played at the Xcel Energy Center. But having been in Boston since the 2000 season, he admittedly doesn’t know a lot about the young Wild team he is joining.
“I don’t know much about the prospects, especially after skating in the East,” he said. There’s a lot of guys that you just don’t know. From what I’ve heard, we have some young guys that are going to make the team and you just never know what they can do.”
Rolston spent last week getting adjusted to new faces on his other team as well, the United States Olympic Team. Rolston spent the previous week in Colorado Springs, Colorado with a United States group at an evaluation camp that also featured new, young faces including Minnesota-natives Paul Martin, Jordan Leopold and Zach Parise.
“It’s a different look,” said Rolston, who was a member of the 2002 U.S. Olympic Team that took silver in Salt Lake City, Utah. “We had a lot of young guys there and it was good to get out there and play some competitive hockey again before Wild camp started.
Team USA will be strong. There are some new faces that they’re trying to bring in so it’s going to be exciting. There are a lot of young players and a lot of speed on the team.”
Rolston didn’t seem to be worried that the team is moving towards younger studs, after having relied so heavily in the past on Hall of Fame names like Hull, Leclair and Roenick.
“We’ve got some guys like Esche and DiPietro, who are just coming into their own as pros. These guys are guys you haven’t really seen, other than in the World Cup, but they’ll be exciting in the Olympics.”
Rolston will now focus on getting used to the new faces in the Wild lineup. He comes into camp as the biggest offseason acquisition in the club’s history and will be counted on to provide consistent two-way play at the center position.
“I’m excited to be here and excited to get going.”