The first day of training camp is a little complicated. It's the like the first day of school, Jan. 1, the day after you get married and Christmas Eve -- all rolled into one. Welcome to that day as the Blues begin on-ice testing before the first official practice on Saturday.
The first day of school was always a little nerve-wracking. Who got taller/fatter/more awkward via puberty over the summer? Who moved away? Who's the new kid? There are lots of introductions, feeling people out and cliques forming immediately. With Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott joining the team and a bevy of young prospects with little to no shot at making the team, there will be a lot of handshakes for the first time in the dressing room.
Today's like Jan. 1 in that it's time for a New Season's Resolution. We will give whatever it takes. We are the last piece of the puzzle. We will remember this time that every game counts. We will join the Blue revolution. We will don't stop believin'. More importantly, it's a clean slate for the guyers on the roster. While the coaches all have opinions about players, now is when they can change minds. Last season did you earn a reputation as a party guy and bad morning practicer? Then go to bed early and skate your ass off. People think you play soft? Skate hard into the corners every time. Today is a new day. Play like it.
And just like the day after the wedding, there's a honeymoon. Hey, hockey is back! Love this team! Love you guys! Give me a hug! There's lots of good vibes right now, lots of friskiness. Will the players feel the same way in January? How this team gels and plays as a unit begins right now.
From the fans' perspective, today is a lot like the day before Christmas...as long as your family has patience and opens presents on Dec. 25 instead of jumping the gun the night before. All the gifts are under the tree, but it's not time to rip them open and see what we've got. Oh sure, that big box in the corner could be a new Hot Wheels racing track. It could also have a new overcoat in it. And that small rectangle could be a new Xbox game. Or the Star Wars saga on blu ray. Or Weekend at Bernie's 2. You won't know until the day arrives.
And that's kind of the point of the opening of training camp and the preseason. Sure, it's a time to start getting excited. Stuff is finally happening on the ice with this team for the first time since April 9. It seems like everybody is pretty optimistic about the makeup of the Blues right now, but it's still too early to tell. The old guys could play like shit, the new guys could still be immature. The goaltending might still be inconsistent. The next few weeks we'll see a few practices and some preseason games, but that only equates to picking up a wrapped gift and giving it a decent shake. No, the bows come off Oct. 8, just 22 days away. I hope we fans get what we're wishing for.
If you plan on attending any of the practices and intend to shake a few boxes, what players are you going to watch closely? What do you want to see now when all the players on the ice are wearing the Bluenote? Anyone want to meet up at practice, say so down below.