WHEELING - Most of the immigration and signing issues have been taken care of. Now it's time for Clark Donatelli and assistant Zach Sonnefeld to get down to the part of this job they really enjoy - coaching.
The Wheeling Nailers open their 21st training camp in the Ohio Valley when they step onto the ice at around 3 today at WesBanco Arena. All practices are open to the public.
"Now we're actually getting on the ice and coaching,'' Donatelli said Tuesday with a laugh. ''We're real excited to get going here.
''It's been a long summer and we're really looking forward to getting on the ice and getting started.''
A combination of the NHL lockout and American Hockey League camps opening later this year has the Nailers taking a wait-and-see approach in terms of their roster. Donatelli said he doesn't expect to see guys come down from the AHL until next week.
The roster they open with today includes holdovers Zach Hansen, Peter Child and Adam Ross on defense, as well as Ben Farrer, Matt Schepke, Cam Fergus, Chris Barton and Scooter Vaughan up front.
Ben Farrer, Matt Schepke, Cam Fergus, Chris Barton, Scooter Vaughan, Alex Belzile, Jordy Trottier, Ryan Maunu, Dave Schultz, Nick Asterito.
Zach Hansen, Adam Ross, Tim Corcoran, Paul Cianfrini, Peter Child, Michael Kavanagh, Peter Starrett.
Michael Chiasson, Matt Tendler
''We've got a mixed bag. We've got some guys from last year and a lot of new guys coming in,'' Donatelli said ''We're excited to see how these guys do. It's hard to judge some of the guys coming out of college.
''Sometimes they're better pros than they were college guys.''
Newcomers include Tim Corcoran, Paul Cianfrini, Michael Kavanagh and Peter Starrett on defense, and Alex Belzile, Jordy Trottier, Ryan Maunu, Dave Schultz and Nick Asterito at forward. The goaltenders are Michael Chiasson and Matt Tendler.
''It's important that these guys get off to a good start because there's not much time to make an impression (and) we will emphasize that in the meetings,'' Donatelli said. ''We've got the two games with Cincinnati coming up on Friday and Sunday. We'll get on the ice (today) and maybe cut and go two, 45-minute sessions and do the same thing on Thursday.''
Here is a capsule look at the roster:
''We're going to be hard on them to pay attention to the little things - the details - because they add up to big things,'' Donatelli said. ''We're going to be on them for making good passes, being a good receiver, being in the right position, winning 1-on-1 battles, stick battles, quick feet and hitting the net and getting scoring chances.
''They're going to be tired (because) we're going to be pushing them hard.''