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Posts Tagged ‘intensity’

What do you think of the Sedins?

If you’re a Canucks fan you’ll probably wish they were triplets.

I’m somewhere in between. I cheer for the ‘Nucks because they’re the home team and are exciting to watch.

But I’m not completely sold on the twins. I admit I have more faith in them than a well-known Vancouver sports broadcaster that refers to them as ‘the sisters’.

So what’s my problem with the Sedins? A number of things. They don’t kill penalties. They’re not tough. And they can be drawn into a style of game where they don’t excel and costs their team in the end.

But this year they are getting it done.

They are 1-2 in league scoring on the top team in the league.

And they’re getting it done in an impressive fashion.

What I mean by that is that coach AV keeps their shifts in check. He doesn’t let his players stay out there too long. And he doesn’t ride his top guns too much.

Smart guy.

Let’s look at the evidence to see how this compares to other top players.

The Sedins average 18:32 & 19:18 of ice time per game and shifts of 46 seconds.
Jonathan Toews averages 2 minutes more per game at 20:37.
Eric Staal is over 22 minutes at 22:04.
Ovechkin is at 21:24 per game.
And before he got hurt Crosby was just under 22 minutes at 21:55.

So what’s the point? Well there are three major ones.

1. The Sedins will have more in the tank come late May

The NHL playoffs are a gruelling grind. Especially if a team has to go through one or more 7 game series in order to advance. The teams that are battling hard right now just to get into the playoffs will be hard pressed to sustain this intensity for the next 8-10 weeks.

History has already proven this when the Flames & Oilers had to batttle to grab the 8th seed in the west only to run out of gas in the Finals.

Don’t think this amount of ice time matters? Consider that Ovechkin plays almost 20% more minutes than the Sedins do this will add up over time.

2. The shorter the interval the higher the intensity

If you had to demonstrate your top skating speed to a scout would you want to skate:

a. 60 minutes non-stop with no rest?

or

b. 30 seconds with 2 to 3 minutes rest between efforts?

It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it.

AV does a good job of encouraging quick changes and keeping intensity up. The longer you stay out there the lower your intensity becomes.

3. Reduced chance of injury

There’s no way of preventing Crosby’s injury other than if he wasn’t on the ice at the time he got hit. And this is a key advantage for the Sedins.

Not only are their minutes closely managed to maintain intensity but being on the ice for less total time reduces the potential for injury.

4. More balanced team attack

There are a number of cliches related to team play in order to hoist the Cup. And if you rely too heavily on one key guy or line it is easy for the opposing coach to match lines and try and shut down this treat.

By keeping the Sedins minutes in check it allows for a more balanced team approach to winning. And AV is able to distribute the minutes more freely knowing the Sedins are generating a better return on investment considering their points, face-offs won, +/- and team wins relative to their total ice team.

It will be interesting to see how this factors into the playoffs.

Will the teams chasing a playoff spot burn out?

Will the top players with high level minutes feel the fatigue set in sooner?

Will being exposed to more minutes in tight-checking, intense games increase the number of injuries?

We’ll have to wait to see what the answers to these questions are. In the meantimes steal a page out of AVs playbook at look to make each effort high intensity, short and productive.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                      onsidehockeytraining.com