Today’s practice session at the MTS Centre featured a scrimmage between Group B and Group C (see the full updated roster here). Following the practice we spoke to veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey. (For readers who prefer to listen than read, scroll to the bottom of the post for the audio)
Hainsey’s group got onto the ice for practice at 9am. Personally, 9am on a Sunday, the night after a Pearl Jam concert is a bit early for me. The 30 year old didn’t seem to have a problem with it.
“I like the early timeslot at this point, we’ve been getting up early, skating for a while. Its good to get in early, get it going, get it done. We got our practice done right away, had our scrimmage for 45 minutes, work out and you’re done by noon. Some of the younger guys may not agree with that timeline, but for me its great getting your work in and you’ve got the rest of the day.”
After hearing his response, he does have a bit of a point. I would rather have the practice early on a Sunday to leave the afternoon open for a day full of NFL games. (And Bombers if you prefer).
Read more with Ron Hainsey after the jump
Being the beginning of training camp, and early on a Sunday morning, I asked Hainsey about the intensity level of that type of scrimmage:
“Out of 10 its probably a 5, everybody’s trying to get a handle on things, it’s a little faster, we’re split up so we have some younger players, some older players, at times it’s a little scrambling. Its about getting your legs under you, getting some shifts, getting used to whatever the rotation is, and getting used to the pace of the game out there. Today its one speed, it will be faster tomorrow, and all the way through camp it gets faster and faster, as the season goes on same thing.”
During the practice, it was easy to hear the Bolton, CT native from our seats. He told us that being vocal in your own end is just part of the game.
“I’ve always talked a lot going back to college. My first few years, there was probably somebody yelling at me, more than me yelling. It’s a lot easier to play in your own zone when you’re talking, letting guys know if they have time, holding on to the puck if they can.”
“Especially early on, with younger players it’s just a lot easier if they know if they’ve got a little time, know where to go with the puck. It’s all part of playing, especially in your own zone”
Yesterday’s practice at the MTS Iceplex was not your ordinary practice. It was a packed house with fans cheering loudly and chanting “Go Jets Go”. Yesterday, several of the players said they had “goosebumps”, it was no different for Hainsey who admits there is some pressure to impress the fans.
“Obviously, you couldn’t help but get a little excited, borderline nervous at the start yesterday, I could only imagine for younger players. It’s a new group of fans, a group you want to impress with your play, you want to make a good impression obviously, even if it’s just practice. Today it was a bit back to normal everyday practice, where you’re not going to have a ton of people watching. But it was an exciting day.”
Before Atlanta, he played in Columbus from 2005-08 under Ken Hitchcock. Hainsey spoke about the influence that Hitchcock had on his career.
“We forged a pretty good relationship there, when he first got there, I hadn’t played a ton of games. I had probably played less than 100 games. It was a work in progress our relationship, but by the time I left I felt like he had a lot of trust in me in all situations. It was a lot of learning with him, a lot of work, a lot of video, a lot of one on one time, as far as developing all aspects of the game. He’s a coach, where when you have his trust, he’ll put you out there a lot, in a lot of different situations. He was without question, as far as development of my pro career, a very large part of where I’ve got to now.”
As far as Winnipeg as a tourist attraction, Hainsey has his mind set on hockey.
“We’ve been skating mostly; we’ve been here for a week. I think Stewie (Mark Stuart) has been here a little longer. It’s more getting settled. It’s been great, all of the people we’ve met so far have been great”
Stay tuned to IllegalCurve.com for more news from training camp