RALEIGH, N.C. – It took only 45 minutes before the Carolina Hurricanes scrimmaged during their first on-ice sessions of training camp held at PNC Arena on Friday.
With 57 players divided into three groups, Carolina rolled Team A out to go through a number of passing and shooting drills before facing off against Team B.
It was part of beginning at the next step in progressing the team’s development to become a playoff contender.
There wasn’t a rewind to re-educate players on what’s expected, how to do things. or anything like that.
No, that happened last season.
There was no hand holding to begin this year’s camp.
“The vets have done a good job of lettin’ the guys know what to expect in their little informal skates leading up to camp,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.
“I think we’re much further ahead than last year at this time, and we wanna build on the success we had last year in January and February. We were a real good team in those two months and we gotta get back to that.”
Veteran netminder Cam Ward was one of those leaders who helped organize informal skate sessions throughout most of August at Raleigh Center Ice.
“You don’t want to ease into camp and feel things out – you want to be ready right from Day One,” Ward said.
“Guys have to be responsible to be prepared and be ready. You saw a lot of us here early, preparing, getting on the ice. Come Day One of training camp, you’re ready to go. It begins now. You don’t want to wait until the last exhibition game. The time is now.”
The scrimmage was the first time for newly acquired goaltender Eddie Lack to face shots wearing a Hurricanes jersey to go along with new white custom pads, blocker and trapper.
Oh sure, he and the rest of his team barely got 10 minutes to warm up, but don’t think that two quick goals scored on him phased him at all.
He quickly shut down subsequent scoring opportunities during the 30-minute game session.
“Obviously, it was a little bit different this morning,” Lack said after chuckling about the point of not having much warm-up time.
“Everyone’s just trying to do their best as the can, trying to get their legs goin’. Obviously, there’s some good talent on this team, and it’s gonna be fun seeing them moving forward.”
“Nowadays, everyone comes to camp and they’re in top shape and they’re ready to go,” forward Jeff Skinner added.
“I think as long as I’ve been in the league, I think its trending to more of that. Now as soon as camp starts, everyone is going full speed.”
It all happened as part of the process to acclimate the team to work at a high pace in preparation for its first set of preseason games on Monday and Tuesday at Washington and Pittsburgh, respectively.
“We want it to be real quick,” Peters said.
“We want to be through the roof, we want puck speed, we want to make sure we’re gapped up and playin’ properly. It happens quick. I know as a staff we’d love one or two more days, but as players, they wanna play – so let’s play.”