Every now and again there will come a player that does something that gets them in trouble. Maybe it’s a penalty during the game, a misconduct or even a suspension and a fine.  And sometimes the team is penalized and fined as well. If this was something where it involved standing up for a teammate that’s one thing. If it involved doing something to help your team win I could understand.

But then there are the things that happen that have nothing to do with standing up for a teammate or trying to get the 2 points. Take for example the recent actions of Sean Avery. If you didn’t see it here’s what happened.

Avery threw a solid, clean hit on the Oilers Fraser. Then the Oilers d-man Smid challenges Avery.

At this point there are conflicting views as to what Avery’s reply was. Some say he said ‘later’. His actions show he said ‘ok’.

In any case it wasn’t a sucker punch. Smid challenged and Avery surprised him with a quick right while skating forwards. I’m saying it wasn’t a sucker punch because:

1. Smid challenged him.

2. Smid is looking at him.

3. Smid has his glove off.

4. Smid has one hand on Avery.

But was it cowardly? Absolutely. I mean Smid is a young Czech kid that had less than 40 penalty minutes last year. I remember meeting him in Anaheim during the summer of 2005 at the Ducks training facility. He had also played here in Kelowna that winter for Czech during the Junior World Championships. But enough about Smid.

This is about idiots like Avery who need to be hammered the next time he squares off with someone. With that in mind here are four tips to win your next hockey fight.

1. Square up – Look at Smid’s body position when he gets hit. He’s sideways to Avery. Just like Christmas, make sure you’re in a position to give and not just take.

2. Use momentum to your advantage. Try this. Jump forward throwing a med ball as far forward as you can at the same time. Next jump backwards and throw the ball as far forward as you can. Pretty obvious which option leads to a higher power output. Don’t be like Smid and skate backwards if you think you might need to starting chucking.

3. ‘Do or don’t do. There is no try.’ – Yoda. Who knew this little green Jedi Master knew how to handle a hockey fight? You can’t go into a hockey fight half-assed. Smid’s lack of pugilistic experience cost him. If you’re going to start it you better be able to finish it as well.

4. Exploit your opponent’s weaknesses. When I train Wade Belak we work on developing his rotational core strength. Why? Well for a number of reasons. The first is that many hockey players train their core in the sagittal plane by doing endless crunches. Some will do a little bit of frontal plane work with some side planks. But few will do any appreciable amount of transverse plane (think rotational) training.

And in what plane do you think you move through  primarily when throwing the big knock-out punch? Yeah you guessed it. In the transverse plane.

When you incorporate some transverse plane training into your workouts make sure it is balanced out with pushing and pulling exercises, is done from your feet and can progress to a competitive and chaotic level. Much like a hockey fight.

Maybe in a future column I’ll devote an entire post on training for hockey fights. I can show some pictures and videos of the exercises we did with Wade Belak and get a few words from Wade himself on the effectiveness these drills have had on his fighting ability in the NHL.

And Smid, if you’re reading, keep these points in mind. Because whether it be you or someone else in the league I’d love to see Avery get his.


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