Hello hockey fans. With all of our changes, I find myself back on the hockey beat. After spending time with Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz, coach Hardy Sauter and new assistant coach Jon Klemm on Monday, I'm set to go. Along the way I hope to make Sportslink the place to go to keep up with the Chiefs and the Western Hockey League. And there is news to get us started.
Today the veteran plans check in and take their physicals. Wednesday the young players go through the process and Thursday camp officially starts.
Our plan for the newspaper is a story advancing camp on Thursday, checking in with players the first day of camp for a Friday story and attending Sunday's Red-White scrimmage.
Camp has been tweaked, starting with breaking the players into two groups for testing.
"We're bringing the guys in a day early to do their fitness testing. That gives us more opportunity to oversee the young guys and their fitness testing," Sauter said. "I don't think there will be as much bending of rules in the exercises. It will give us a better guage where everybody is starting camp."
There are 68 players in camp. They are broken into what is hoped to be three evenly split teams. Another change is having a Thursday morning practice for each team before the daily scrimmages. Scrimmages are set at 10:30 a.m., 1 and 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
"We almost standardized it so games are at the same times. Hopefully the routine allows the kids to be more comfortable," Sauter explained.
Three veterans won't be at camp because of injuries. Two are 20-year olds, defenseman Ryan Letts, who probably won't be available until October, because of a summer Achilles injury, and forward Jared Spurgeon, who isn't completely recovered from last season's shoulder surgery. And, of course, there's defenseman Jared Cowen. He suffered a major knee injury midway through the season, but was still drafted by Ottawa in the first round. All things are going well but he is with Ottawa finishing rehab. The guess is he will stick with the Senators through camp and exhibition games so they can observe his progress.
As I put together my camp story, expect more information that may not make it into the story.
Feel free to leave comments and questions, which I'll try to get answered as camp progresses.