While much of the discussion over off-season training centered on Mike Richards and his discussions with general manager Dean Lombardi about his workout regimen, there have been references to the fine shape in which the entire team collectively reported to training camp.
“All of our guys looked really good,” Daryl Sutter said on Saturday. “Not specifically Mike, but all of our guys. I’ve been really impressed with all of them, what they did this summer and their mindset coming back.”
It’s a refrain that has been acknowledged by the returning players.
“I had a couple of weeks to enjoy it, then we all made an agreement – we all set a date in early July that it was time to get back to work, time to start training again,” Alec Martinez said. “All of the guys look like they’re in shape and that they’re ready to go.”
As per a team meeting, there was an agreed upon date to resume preparations for the 2014-15 season, “and I think everyone followed suit by the looks of it,” according to Martinez.
“They had dates, and they stuck to the dates. Give ‘em the dates, they went with it. You need 70 days of training, and that’s what we got,” Sutter said.
Perhaps there is a low calorie champagne. Or perhaps this is a team understanding that they’ll be targeted by 29 other teams who want to deny them the history of becoming the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 to repeat.
“You obviously have a target on your back, not that anyone’s been taking us lightly, because we’ve been a pretty good hockey club for quite a few years now,” Martinez said. “You’re going to get the best of everyone every night, and I think that can wear on teams; I guess that’s the physical side of it. The mental side of it is a big part too. To be quite honest, a lot of people often talk about being satisfied after winning one, but personally, and I think I speak for most of the guys, if not all of the guys in the room, when I say it really makes you hungrier, it makes you want to do it again.”
Another topic of discussion? Dustin Brown’s hair.
“That’s the longest hair I’ve seen Brownie with literally since I’ve been here,” Sutter said. “Remember, he was always brushed or as close to brushed as you could get.”
Could there be an inverse Sampson effect with Brown, who appeared to have returned to Los Angeles having shed some weight?
“I think as a whole group were’ in good shape,” Sutter said. “It’s not Brownie – or you guys want to do something on Mike or something like that. Considering everything, I think we were good.”
Alec Martinez, on how often he has seen replays of his Cup-clinching goal:
I saw it a couple of times maybe a few days after. Everyone was giving me a hard time about my celebration. I had never seen it, so I had to see that. [The jokes] were well deserved, I deserved to get a little flack for that. So yeah, I saw it just a few times, and it pops up here and there.
Martinez, on the historical aspect of his Cup-clinching goal:
I don’t really know yet. I guess it kind of settled in a little bit. By talking to guys that played for a while, some of them said something like that it may not set in until you’re done playing, done with your career, and you have time to reflect and look back on things. I don’t really think about it all that much. It wasn’t about one goal, it was bigger than that – it was about the team.
Martinez, on his day with the Cup:
I rented a lake house just outside of Dallas for the weekend, had some friends and family down, and we went out on the boat, played volleyball in the backyard, horseshoe – name a yard game and we probably had it. It was a lot of fun. The only thing was it was pretty warm – it was about 100 degrees all weekend. But at least we had a pool to keep us cool, and the lake, and I had a snow-cone truck come because I knew it was going to be pretty warm. That cooled everyone down a bit.