Most of the league's 30 teams, 21 to be exact, officially open camp Monday while the rest will follow suit Tuesday or Wednesday.These camps are going to be busier and more important for the teams than normal with a lot of ground to cover on a variety of things. Not only will teams have to jell with new roster acquisitions but there's brand new rules and whole new offensive/defensive strategies that have to be learned and implemented.
There's a buzz around the league about the return of hockey, a stark contrast to a year ago Wednesday when commissioner Gary Bettman triggered the lockout, a labour fight that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.
Players who have been working out in independent groups all summer have tried to incorporate some of the new rules and ice dimensions so not to be overwhelmed next week.Let the fun and games begin.
"Here at the Joe, guys are getting used to the speed and the body positioning," Draper said. "Teams that can skate and have a good defence will be a step ahead. You won't have any choice to open up. But this is going to be a huge adjustment and it won't happen overnight."
The NHL's pre-season gets underway Friday night with three games, including the Battle of Alberta in Edmonton.WOOHOO!