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Barons open training camp, Edmonton sends 11 players to OKC

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Published: September 26, 2011
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Now, Nelson, who said the team will carry a maximum of 23 players, can find comfort in knowing he has a familiarity with nearly half his roster.

“As a coaching staff, we know what kind of players we're getting,” Nelson said. “We know the players a lot more than we did last year. Last year, it took me awhile just to figure guys out just because I was new to the organization.”

Nelson should be assisted by the Oilers employing the same system. The returning players already have a feel for what to do. The rest will be left up to the coaching staff and the veteran players.

“Our coaches are great,” said Lord. (There will be) a lot of video; a lot of boardroom (time) going over the Xs and Os. And then early on in the season here in practices there will be a lot of system work.

“I definitely think the guys that have been here…have to hold everyone accountable.”

Helmer, the oldest player at 39, said the team has a good mix of young and old. The biggest hurdle, Helmer said, will be players adjusting to roles and buying into the system.

“They're probably going to go through some growing pains, but hopefully we get those out of the way quick and settle down,” Helmer said. “If we can all get on the same page, we should be pretty successful.”

The key will be how soon the Barons can click.

“The first half of the season in the American League is always the most important,” Helmer said. “If you can get off to a fast pace and get some wins under your belt and get some confidence, it'll take you into the second part of the season and on into the playoffs.”