Posts Tagged ‘hockey fight’

I like movies and I like hockey. So naturally I was excited to hear a hockey movie was coming about the fighter on a team.

And when I heard that Stiffler from the American Pie movies would be playing the lead role I thought this could be really funny.

But whether the movie is funny or not has nothing to do with the fact that this movie is going to miss big time when it comes to protraying the fighter in hockey.

Why would I say this? Or better yet, how could I say this when I haven’t even see the movie? Well for a number of reasons. Here are my Top 5 Reasons the Movie ‘Goon’ Will Miss when it comes to protraying the fighter in hockey.

Reason #1 – Can’t Skate

In the movie Stiffler’s character is not a hockey player. He doesn’t even know how to skate. Apparently the producers of the movie liked the fact Sean William Scott (who plays the goon) couldn’t skate himself which allowed for a more genuine portrayal of the goon.

Don’t fall for this. You will not advance to any level of professional hockey these days if you can’t skate regardless of what a movie tells you.

Reason #2 – One Dimensional

The movie portrays the goon as a player with one purpose. To be a presence, to intimidate and to fight if called upon. This may be very similar to the responsilities of the fighter on any team.

But in real life it doesn’t end there. Take for example the players with the most fighting majors in the NHL this season. Scott Thornton has a Stanley Cup ring with the Bruins. And Brandon Prust is with the Rangers atop the Eastern Conference this year. Both players also chip 20-30 points a year.

Even if you’re a fighter you need to be able to contribute in other ways as these two guys are.

Reason #3 – You Need to Be Missing Teeth

Maybe back in the 70s or 80s it was more common to recognize hockey players by their missing teeth and scars. But now with cosmetic surgery, mouth guards and advanced medical facilities within main areans there is no reason to be walking around without a full set of bright white choppers.

Plus you are more likely to be missing teeth from a stick or a deflection as opposed to blocking a couple of knuckle sandwiches with your face.

Reason #4 – Can’t Be Educated

In the movie Scott’s character comes from a family of intellectuals and he is not. He is therefore the outcast and apparently is perfectly suited as the enforcer on his team.

True, there is no minimum IQ requirement to drop the gloves and go with someone. But the stereotype that these guys are all dummies is old.

I can recall discussing movies, travel, literature and many other topics with the fighers I’ve trained. Some liked to do Sudoku puzzles. Others were into cards. And almost all of them were as quick witted as could be. I’ve always considered a quick sense of humour a sign of intelligence.

Don’t fall for the stereotype that all fighters are dummies.

Reason #5 – Not the Same on Ice

Have you ever heard of football teams trying out world class sprinters as wide receivers or to return kicks? Rarely works, doesn’t it?

Just because you’re good at something in one dimension doesn’t mean it translates to all. In this case the Goon is a bouncer at a bar. And we’re to make the connection that he’s a good fighter at the bar therefore he’ll make a good fighter on a hockey team. Doubtful.

If you’ve been in a hockey fight or worked with players who have you’ll know this a totally different beast. The difference in surface should be an obvious one. But there’s also the element of trying to tie up your opponent’s arms and trying not to land too many punches on the side of your opponent’s helmet. Add to that the fact you may have just completed a hard 40 second shift and still have stitches from your last fight. Not really the conditions of a bar fight, is it?


I’ll still go to the Goon. And I’m sure I’ll laugh. The directors and producers are sure to include as many hockey stereotypes in the movie for effect. Hopefully you’ll see it as entertainment and how far from the mark it is to what a real hockey fighter is like.



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.
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Grip Muscles

In the last post I talked about how during a conditioning session with a returning NHL player we identified some goals for his off-season training program. In this article I’m going to share with you what some of those goals are, why we chose them and how you should go about choosing your goals.

The first thing I should mention is that I’ve worked with this player for a few years now. I know what his work capacity is like. I know what his motivation is to train. And I’ve had the opportunity to watch him play over 40 games over the last few years. This last point really helps as I can see which areas of his game are working for him and which areas we can improve on.

So the first area we establish for some training goals is directly related to his on-ice performance. We’ll evaluate his performance in terms of his energy systems (aerobic, lactate and ATP-PC), his strength levels, his power production and his movement ability on the ice. We’ll both know where he excelled relative to the competition and where he’d like to do better.

But even before we address any of these elements that lead to improved performance we want to do a kinetic chain evaluation. I like the FMS and have been using this for a number of years with great success. This allows me to pick up on any compensations in the kinetic chain as well as bilateral asymetries before we begin loading the athlete on the weight room floor.

Once we’ve cleaned up all the movement patterns we can then proceed to working on some of the goals. One goal in particular for his off-season is improved grip strength. There are three major types of grip strength which include pinching, crushing and supporting. Think of these as these as the types of strength necessary to pick up a sheet of plywood, to shake someone’s hand or to hold the handle on a farmer’s walk. But how does this relate to hockey training and ultimately to hockey performance?

Well grip strength is a great measure of upper body strength. If you have a strong grip you most likely are strong through the arms, chest, shoulders and back. Think about people who work with their hands on a daily basis such as brick layers. These guys usually have incredibly strong upper bodies.

The other benefit of training grip strength is that it is a form of CAP. See the previous post  to learn more about CAP. Basically as you develop strength in another part of your body the area doing work gets stronger. For example, crushing the bar during a bench press competition will allow you to recruit more muscles and bench more than if you have a loose relaxed grip.

This last point leads into the next one and it has to do with you the connection to the nervous system. The more focussed you are mentally on a lift or effort the better the effort. There are more nerves in your finger tips and hands than there are through the forearms, biceps, shoulders and chest. By strengthening your grip you are able to recruit more of the muscles through the upper body. To test this  try and flex all of the muscles in the upper body with a relaxed grip compared to when you squeeze your hand closed tightly. It’s not even close.

Better grip strength increases your your game performance in a number of ways. First of all with increased grip strength you will be able to get a harder shot off more quickly. Secondly, when you need to throw a check you will able to transfer the power generated from your skates, through the legs and hips and to the upper body more effectively as a stronger grip results in a stronger upper body. Lastly, if you ever end up in a fight you will have a stronger grip to control your opponent, throw them off balance and your blows will land more quickly and with more force.


***Just as a quick aside, I’m not advocating fighting for leagues and levels of play that do not allow it. However if the level you play at has fighting and you may be required to drop the mits then you may as well come out on the winning side.*** 

In future posts I’ll show you some of the drills we’re using to build up and develop grip strength for our hockey players.