The first day of Dallas Stars training camp is officially in the books, at least from an on-ice perspective.
We got our first bit of news out of the early Group A practice, as it was revealed the Valeri Nichushkin has been battling a groin injury for the past week or so and is being carefully managed as far as his skating goes. He participated in the first part of practice before leaving early.
Also participating, though wearing the red no-contact jersey, was Brett Ritchie and his broken pinky.
The second session was scheduled to be a practice but turned into a scrimmage, much to the delight of the large group of kids from Fort Worth ISD in attendance. Goal scorers included Matej Stransky (twice), Jason Spezza, Antoine Roussel, Curtis McKenzie, Jordie Benn and Erik Cole.
Team White, which I believe was the players from Team B, won the scrimmage 8-5. They got a quick couple victory laps while Team Green had a much more spirited bag skate to make up for the shameful effort of their failure.
Brandon will be back with all the observations a little later today, but here's some quick hit quotes he picked up out in Fort Worth to tide you over until then.
Lindy Ruff on the change in Val Nichushkin, who left the first session a little early as part of nursing a groin injury:
I think there is a big difference in just being able to understand the language. For myself, being able to communicate with them is very important. He’s been struggling a little bit with a groin issue, so he hasn’t skated for the past week. Today, he practiced through three-quarters of practice, which is good. I think from the standpoint of putting on some muscle and getting stronger, understanding how to play the game right out of the chute, where it probably took 20 games last season to understand how tough of a league this is, how strong these guys are, how much back pressure there is in our game. I think he’s got a pretty good handle now of where the game is at.
Ruff on the youngster/veteran mix on the team:
I think, for the most part, our group up front is on the younger side. If you look at the age of Jamie and Tyler and some of our key guys – we have some veteran guys that are a little bit older. I think any time your younger guys can go on and win a championship and play well – some of those players got some games last year and you know they’ll definitely get some games this year. Good possibility maybe one or two of them will make the team.
Jim Nill on what feels different this year:
That’s a great question because I remember last year was just a big blur. We didn’t know the team. Lindy and I didn’t know each other. We put a staff together, we put a team together. We knew the players, but we didn’t know them. We’ve had a chance now to get a feel for guys. Lindy and his staff have done a great job putting the pieces together. We’ve made some additions and there is a little bit of freshness again. That’s going to create a buzz for us moving forward.
Nill on if Rich Peverley's status improved over the summer:
Yeah, I would say he has improved. He’s been monitored over the summer, he’s been working out and to get the green light now that he can continue his training and ramp it up is probably the best news we can get. We’ll go from there.
Jamie Benn if the tight knit nature of last year's team has carried over:
Yeah, we’ve got such a tight group here. It’s awesome. A lot of us keep in touch through the summers. We have a little bit of a golf tournament in the summer which a lot of guys come to. The chemistry is still there. With the new guys coming in, they are already a part of this team and this family. We’re looking forward to this year.
Benn on if he considers himself a veteran player yet
I was talking to Ralphie about this. I don’t know if I’m still a young guy or a veteran yet. I think I’m kind of a tweener. I’m not sure what I am. I’ll let you guys decide.