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Training Camp Quotes

11/29/2011, 2:16pm CST
By Alec Schimke

Members of the Swarm share their thoughts on the first week of training camp

Mike Lines

Mike Lines addresses the team at training camp. (Photo Credit: Alec Schimke)

Saint Paul, Minn - Minnesota Swarm coach Mike Lines and selected members of the team met with mnswarm.com after last weekend's training camp session in Hagersville, Ontario. The highlights:

Mike Lines
Head Coach, 3rd year

On the Swarm’s first training camp session…
“It was an ultra-competitive camp. We’ve never been involved with anything as far as camp goes like what we went through last weekend. We had a rookie camp and we had some walk-ons . . . it really opened our eyes. We got a few of the walk-ons that are actually coming back this week. The competiveness, the effort, and the hard work was incredible. It was fantastic to see. I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”

On how well the team mixed together in the first week…
“Everybody got along absolutely fantastic. Credit our returning guys for making the rookies feel welcome. Our rookies really, really pushed the envelope and our veterans responded and took it up another notch, to which the rookies followed. It was great to see.”

On the returning players stepping up and taking leadership roles…
“I saw it in the dressing room before they were even on the floor, right from day one, and especially from a guy like Andrew Suitor. He stepped up and did a great job during the weekend. One of his main goals was to step up and be the guy this year. He was very vocal, scored on offense, pushed the envelope towards everybody and worked extremely hard. That’s not taking anything away from any of the other veterans. We could go on and on down the list. There wasn’t a veteran who didn’t really stand up and battle in camp.”

Aime Caines
Assistant Coach, 3rd year

On how this year’s camp compares to past camps he has been involved in…
“I’ve been involved in the NLL since 1999 on both sides as a player and as a coach and I’ve never seen a training camp of that intensity. We pushed the limits of these guys and they responded better than we could have imagined. We’re really pleased with the outcome of our first training camp.”

On the drills in practice…
“We just wanted to test these guys and see what they’re physical limits are and see how they would respond. After doing these drills, they were really tired. That’s like a game, you have to put everything you have in that shift. When it comes to the 4th quarter, teams that are in better shape are going to have better outcomes. That’s what we were trying to simulate there.”

On how the new eight-second rule will affect Swarm’s style of play this year... (Note: When a team gains possession of the ball in their defensive half of the floor, they will now have eight seconds to get the ball across the center line. Teams previously had ten seconds to cross the centerline after gaining possession.)
“It’s huge. Two seconds might not seem like a huge difference, but for an NLL player to clear the ball up with two less seconds to shoot is just going to speed up the game. That’s what we’re looking to do, we want to be a fast paced team. I think the rules will benefit us because we want to push the ball every chance we get.”

Ryan Benesch
Forward, 6th year

On the positive energy in the locker room after the first session…
“We’re all pretty close right now. Training camp is a way for all of us to get to know each other. We had a nice team dinner on Saturday night. We’re all pretty pleased with the effort everyone gave the first weekend.”

On the fast-tempo mentality out on the floor…
“It’s something new. I don’t think very many of us have had a training camp quite like this. Everything was go-go, where everyone is pushing each other. The intensity was always there, which is good to see. When guys like Callum Crawford want to put in that kind of effort, it pushes everybody.”

On if he was impressed by the younger players...
“Very impressed. They were here Thursday for two sessions, two Friday, two Saturday and two Sunday. There’s no quit in any of them.”

Joe Cinosky
Defenseman, 4th year

On the excitement level after the first session…
“It’s great. I think with the changes that we made, we lost some friends in the mix, but at the same time we’ve reloaded here. We’ve got some focused guys. Veterans are here working just as hard as the guys vying for a spot and I think that’s going to separate us this year from the rest of the teams in the league. We’ve got guys that are hungry and have something to prove. It’s going to go a long way this year.”

On being out on the floor for the first time his year…
“Not only was it our first time out here together, but there was some anxiety beforehand . . . who was going to be here, who was going to show up, and who was going to perform. Once everyone got together, it was very easy and everyone just meshed immediately. There’s nothing here that separates anybody. Our best and last guy on our roster will be working just as hard as the rest of the guys.”

Mitch Belisle
Defenseman, 5th year

On being out on the floor with the Swarm for the first time…
“It was great. Everyone pushed each other hard. The smaller core of veterans did a great job of leading and welcoming the rest of the guys and myself to the team. It was a good start.”

On the Swarm’s practice structure….
“The practices put us in position to get in game shape right away and also make sure we are focusing on doing the right things under a lot of pressure when we’re tired. That’s going to be huge down the stretch of the season.”

On spending time with his new teammates…
“I got to spend a lot of time with the guys that had been on the team and the new guys too. I think we’re going to have a mix of a lot of younger and new guys, which is going to be great to try and get them in the fold and up to speed to build some great team chemistry.”

On what he brings to the team…
“I’m a stay-at-home defender that likes going hard for loose balls. I try to push the pace up the floor a little bit. I’m always going hard and try to play the body and try to fire up the crowd with some big hits when I can.”

Todd Baxter
Rookie, Forward

On being the only Minnesota native on the team and participating in his first session with the Swarm…
“It was an intense battle out there, but fun. It was a different speed than the outdoor game, which I expected. It was good to get in there with the boys and try out the box game. It was real physical so I like that.”

On his growth over the four-day span, from rookie camp to main camp…
“An unbelievable amount of growth. You got the coaches and players helping you day in and day out, just trying to get me up to speed with what they’ve been doing for years. I’ve learned a lot. There are a lot of differences between the field game and the box game. You got the shot clock, smaller field and goals, and different rules. It’s just a learning process and it will come with time.”

On what he is looking forward to this weekend and what he is looking improve on…
“I’m excited to be coming back. A couple of things that I want to work on to get my game going here is just keep learning, keep developing, try and find the back of the net a little more, and getting up to speed with the guys to be able to understand their styles of play and be able to feed off it. Also incorporate my game to theirs and see how I can be an asset to the team.”

Michael Brascia
Defenseman, Rookie (walk-on)

On surviving two rounds of cuts as a walk-on…
“Ecstatic. I couldn’t be happier, but I know it’s just the beginning. I have to put that much more effort in to reach the ultimate goal, which is to make the final roster.”

On fighting through injuries during the weekend…
“Like you said fought through it. I sprained my ankle, dislocated my thumb . . . I just fought through it. Put in everything I had, 100% commitment, and it worked.“

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