The Ducks started their off season on April 12th after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2004. For a team used to playing in the springtime, it was a long off season.
Despite the long lay off, the players assembled for the first day of training camp had not forgotten the missed post-season. Even if they had, Coach Randy Carlyle would not let them forget that fact in the team meeting prior to getting on the ice for their first practice.
"It affects everybody," Carlyle said at the end of practice. "An event that you want to make sure doesn't happen again. We're going to try to put everything we possibly can into this training camp to get this hockey club as ready as it's ever been."
47 players were split into two groups, one on each of the surfaces at Anaheim Ice, and were put through the paces before their first intra-squad scrimmage. The two teams, group A in Black and group B in White, were tied, 3-3, when the buzzer sounded. Conditioning and stretching concluded the morning.
Those 47 players will need to be winnowed down to a maximum roster of 23. Needless to say, there will be competition for any open spots.
One of those players hoping to earn a spot is defenseman Cam Fowler, who was the Ducks' first round draft pick in June. The talented 18 year-old plans on giving it his best shot to make the team and appears to have a good chance at doing so. A strong skater and agile with the puck, Fowler plans on giving it his best shot.
"The team’s not happy with what happened last year. They are going to do everything they can to get the right guys in here and I’m just going to do everything I can to try to make the line-up."
Tomorrow, the Ducks repeat the process all over again, in the hopes of getting things right and ready to go on day one of the regular season. Anything less than success will be unacceptable and after last year, success cannot be taken for granted.