Americans Begin Main Training Camp
KENNEWICK, Wash. - Fifty-seven players, all with hopes of making the Americans roster, stepped out on the Toyota Center ice Monday for the first day of training camp. Don Nachbaur's coaching staff must evaluate the player pool, which includes a few rookies who have been asked to stay from last week's rookie camp. Only about half of those present will make the final roster. Even the veterans know they'd better put on their best show this week in Kennewick.
"We're all trying to battle for a spot," said Goalie Chet Pickard. "Even the returning veterans got to battle. It's not a given that you're on the team, even If you were here last year . We're gonna see a lot of tense moments throughout the next week or two weeks here, and everyone is gonna be battling hard to earn their spot."
Nachbaur can note the differences in the players who played in leagues during the offseason.
"It really becomes conditioning, because most of the kids do have the same skills," he said. "It's the kids that worked a little harder in the summer that come out here and rise above everybody else."
Nachbaur also said his team, although young, has a lot of speed this year. They also have experience. There are many returners from last year's team, which made it to the first round of the playoffs. Goalie is a deep position. Pickard served as a backup last year, and is currently battling incumbet Carey Price for ice time. Roster decisions and position battles will be settled over the next few weeks. A home exhibition game is scheduled for Friday September eighth versus Portland. The season opens at home against Spokane Saturday September thirtieth.