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Strangis: Getting away for camp is an advantage

Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:27 PM CT / News
By Ralph Strangis
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Strangis: Getting away for camp is an advantage

Getting away for training camp is an advantage.  In the glory years the Dallas Stars would go to Vail or Breckenridge and mix practice and teaching and formal and informal team-building exercises for the purpose of getting body and mind back in shape for the new season.  This time was critical.  New players would ease in with the current team and become a part of the Stars’ culture.  These years were followed by holding the fall ritual in Frisco.  But that was like outpatient treatment.  I mean – how integrated can your group get if each player showed up in his own car in the morning and a few hours later returned to his home and deal with the usual daily business of family obligations?

Last year Joe Nieuwendyk, leaning on the experiences of his playing days, re-implemented “Training Camp Elsewhere…”  We came to Charlottetown, PEI, a cozy and hockey-mad island community and got about the business of restoring unity and installing a new culture.  Even without native son Brad Richards, Charlottetown was eager to have us again – and we were excited to come back.

Saturday is the first day on the ice, and with lots of new faces and a new coach and staff, this group looked eager to get after it.  Glen Gulutzan attacks this camp as he has attacked all others in his coaching career – with pace, preparedness, and poise.  His three-point mantra for his players; be better prepared, be hard to play against, and pay attention to detail.  And while the message is hardly unique, his players and those around him have remarked already that he is extremely clear about what he wants and what he expects.

In his pre-season speech to his troops last night, he challenged his players to think of success not in terms of awards or trophies, but in terms of getting the most out of themselves individually with the skills and talents they have, and then getting the most out of the group as a whole.  This “John Wooden-esque” approach is a new way of looking at things for many.  Most coaches talk of Stanley Cups and winning games, Gulutzan talks about maxing out what you have.

I’ve spoken to players who he’s coached in the past, and to people who know him well.  And all of them in one way or another have conveyed to me the following observation about him; he always gets maximum effort, and his teams almost always “over-achieve”.

This is a group that was one period away from the playoffs last year.  Yes losing Richards is a big deal – but they are deeper and more well-balanced.  This then is not a total rebuild, but an effort to tweak what was right, acclimate what is new, and move ahead with a redefined sense of purpose.

I’ve been around a few coaches and have been to a few training camps.  The proof of course will be in the pudding.  But I like him.  I think they’ll like playing for him.  And I really believe you’ll love watching it.




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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 DAL 56 36 15 5 182 150 77
2 CHI 59 36 18 5 162 137 77
3 STL 57 31 17 9 138 133 71
4 LAK 54 33 18 3 151 128 69
5 SJS 54 29 20 5 158 144 63
6 ANA 54 27 19 8 123 127 62
7 COL 58 29 25 4 155 160 62
8 NSH 56 26 21 9 147 148 61
9 ARI 55 25 24 6 144 168 56
10 MIN 55 23 22 10 135 138 56
11 VAN 55 22 21 12 127 149 56
12 CGY 54 25 26 3 144 160 53
13 WPG 55 25 27 3 140 158 53
14 EDM 57 22 29 6 139 169 50

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 56 29 34 18 63
T. Seguin 56 30 32 13 62
J. Klingberg 56 10 37 13 47
P. Sharp 56 16 25 -2 41
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
A. Goligoski 56 4 20 16 24
C. Eakin 56 10 13 0 23
M. Janmark 56 11 10 13 21
A. Hemsky 49 6 14 0 20
J. Demers 49 7 12 16 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 16 5 0 .910 2.80
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