Training camp is finally here, folks.
Several players spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time this season. Here are some tidbits from what Johnny Gaudreau, Zach Werenski, Patrik Laine, and Erik Gudbranson had to say.
What kind of player do Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine want centering their line?
Gaudreau said finding the right chemistry is important with whoever will play center on his line and added what specifics he likes to see in his center.
"You want a center that wins face-offs," Gaudreau said. "And [is] smart in their own zone and can move up the ice and make plays and see the ice as well."
Gaudreau said that he's played with both offensive-minded and defensive-minded centers throughout his career and again mentioned trying to find the right fit both on and off the ice.
Laine said he thinks a defensive center would suit his and Gaudreau's skill sets the best.
"Probably defensive, I would say," Laine said. "I don't think both of us [are] known for our defensive play. Honestly, it doesn't matter. We have great centers and they all bring something different to the table. I guess we'll find out whoever's in there [and] try to make it work."
Laine also said that since last year he and Jakub Voracek played with a defensive center, he made need that again with Gaudreau.
Gaudreau with the sauce, Lindholm with the finish pic.twitter.com/gRS6i6YBPp— NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) May 10, 2022
Zach Werenski said there is an emphasis on an increase in toughness heading into the season.
"We played a few games last year where we were kind of getting bullied a little bit," Werenski said. "Hockey-wise, we were hanging right in there and playing the game the right way."
Werenski also said that bringing in physical players like Erik Gudbranson and Mathieu Olivier may help offensive-minded players like him be able to play more freely and act as prevention or protection against dirty hits.
"I think a little bit, maybe," Werenski said. "I hope no one's put in that position where they feel like [a] cheap shot's taken or anything like that. But I think guys have to stand up for their teammates, and you have to stand up for yourself at some point as well."
Gudbranson said he's always tried to be a physical, tough player and that those types of situations seem to find him more than he actively looks for them.
"That physical style of game, I've always loved that since I was a kid," Gudbranson said. "I mean, I love scoring goals, but I love hitting guys hard and getting into the mix and I do it as clean as I possibly can."
The Jackets begin training camp practice on Thursday and play their first preseason games on Sunday. The full schedule can be found here.