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Wild Using Informal Skates To Prepare For Camp

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

With the start of training camp two weeks away, Wild players continue to arrive in Minnesota and are piling into the rink for informal practices in preparation of training camp. 

Some of the players have skated for weeks, and a group met on Thursday for practice drills and scrimmages with a mixed bag of Wild and non-Wild players. 

"This is my third week here — it's been good," Zach Parise said. "Next week it will be just our team together, so it will be nice."

The players were split into two rinks, with the day concluding with an up-tempo, 5-on-5 scrimmage. 

"It's good to have that practice at the start as well to get some battle drills in, and get the legs back into that type of stuff," Jared Spurgeon said. "The games have been good too. The 5-on-5, there's a lot of good players here, so it brings the pace up."

The sessions serve as an intermediary step between individual offseason preparation and training camp, when some players said the real work truly begins.

"The purpose is that you're skating, and you're staying in shape, or getting in shape, but nothing is like training camp," Thomas Vanek said. "The decision-making is a little slower out here, and no one wants to get hurt obviously. 

The purpose of this is to get a feel for the puck, and get used to the speed a bit more, and get closer to camp."

With training camp so close, and more Wild players attending each session, anticipation is building. 

"There are a lot of good players out here, but it's like any other year: once you hit September, guys are kind of sick of working out and doing these skates, they're ready to go with their own team," Vanek said. "For us it's about staying sharp and waiting a couple more weeks here."

And though these are informal sessions, as the group of players builds, the intensity heightens, and the skill level picks up.

"Not only here, but there should be that [intensity] all summer long as you're skating, and kind of mentally preparing for the season, and training," Parise said. "I would assume that's kind of been all the guy's mindsets. 

We have to improve as a team, and get better, so that's why this time of year is excited, to get back and to be playing some real hockey again."

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