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Training Camp Preview

09/28/2012 2:01 PM - Mike Peck
The long awaited start of hockey season has finally arrived! Even though the NHL lockout is still hanging over the head of the sport, the American Hockey League is firing up, including the IceHogs who begin camp on Sunday, Sept. 30.

The majority of the IceHogs players have been in town for well over a week now as the lockout has put them in Rockford. So that in its self has brought a different vibe around here already. Usually players arrive the Friday or Saturday before camp with a good chuck still in Chicago vying for a spot on the Blackhawks.

But as of Friday, 22 of the 34 players on Rockford’s camp roster were already in town with most skating as a group in non-organized team skates and workouts. 

With no NHL training camp, not only will it make the preseason in Rockford a little more competitive, but it also means players have less time to get into “game” shape before opening night on Oct. 13.  When the team takes the ice on Sunday, a lot of players should already have had a week of training camp under their belts in Chicago. Not this year though.

So the first week of the preseason will be key with the three games and with limiting injuries heading into the regular season.

Ted Dent and his staff have split up the squad into two teams for practices and scrimmages with 15 skaters and two goalies per team.  I’ve already covered the roster in prior blog posts (see below) and the anticipated competitions in camp.

The biggest thing now is keeping everyone healthy into the regular season. I’m not a guy who hates the preseason and exhibition games because of the risk of injury. Injury is a part of the game and these exhibition games are necessary to get players back into a rhythm and shape.  But most of these guys go from hard off-ice workouts early in the summer to some casual ice time, then a little more competitive ice time and then back to casual for the past couple weeks leading into camp.

So the transition and getting hammered with long practice days and games can put an instant strain on the body. The worst part is, a groin injury sustained the first couple days of training camp can railroad a guy for the first two months of the season.

Chatting with a few of the players, they are anxious to get this thing going and are just glad to be playing hockey. Summer gets long and it’s got to be tough to be sitting on the sidelines, healthy and ready to play but with nowhere to play because of the lockout. So for a change, everyone in AHL camps should be happy with their surroundings because of the lack of NHL.

And now for a final vow as I sign off….I’m not going to refer to the lockout until it gets resolved in blog posts. Like all of you, I’m tired of them (especially in hockey).

Stayed tuned to as we’ll have lots of training camp coverage beginning on Sunday!