With NHL training camps such a shortened affair, it's tempting for many coaches to jump immediately into game situations, focusing on early scrimmages with the over-sized rosters to get their players up to game speed.
That's not the approach the Dallas Stars are taking this season.
The Stars spent all day broken out into three groups on the first day of camp at the Cedar Park Center working on things like battle drills, defensive zone situations and conditioning skates, choosing to wait to start the scrimmage situations until the second day.
"The setup is already different," Tyler Seguin told Sean Shapiro. "My first year at training camp the first four days I scrimmaged, the fifth day I played an exhibition game. And then the sixth day I had a practice. This year, two summers later, I’m practicing today and practicing tomorrow."
One player who stood out to many in those drills is defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who reportedly was trying to throw his weight around, especially in battle drills, with Group B. That's a good sign for a player who will be fighting for playing time, or even a roster spot, this season. Other players in that session included Seguin and the newly acquired Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya.
Another player people had their eyes on was one Jamie Benn, who most were seeing for the first time in an official capacity since the captain underwent double hip surgery this offseason. Benn participated fully in the Group A session alongside players like Cody Eakin, Alex Goligoski and Kari Lehtonen, and he met the media afterward.
Just like last season, the Stars had the veterans and rookies evenly distributed between the three groups. Travis Moen was sidelined with a minor knee injury.
It's tempting to read things into some of the early lines (after all, Jamie Benn-Cody Eakin-Patrick Eaves won the Art Ross Trophy in game 82 last season, and the Valeri Nichushkin-Jason Spezza-Ales Hemsky trio has been speculated), but it's far too early to take anything concrete. After all, the team split up Benn and Seguin for last training camp, and the two spent virtually every healthy even-strength minute together.
But because it's the first day of a full group and we're so excited about any real hockey news that of course we're going to read too much into it, here is what the team ran:
Here were the lines and defense pairings during day one of Stars camp: pic.twitter.com/MdDxChQQlb— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) September 18, 2015
And Lindy Ruff did tease us with this little tidbit:
Lindy Ruff said it this summer & said it again today: Oduya and Demers is a defense pair he is considering, along with Goligoski-Klingberg.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) September 18, 2015
Let your line speculation wheels fly.
Jim Nill also met with the media and addressed the expectations for this team as they officially start their preparations for the season.
On the docket for tomorrow is Group B practice from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and a scrimmage between Groups A and C and noon. The groups aren't guaranteed to be the same as Friday's, and I would guess there would be a little shuffling if only because Nill has said Jamie Benn and Ales Hemsky won't participate in the early scrimmages.
Some players are participating in a fan event tonight at the Domain shopping center in Austin. Keep an eye on Julie Dobbs account on Twitter for a possible Periscope preview of Vernon Fiddler interviewing fans.