Posts Tagged ‘playoffs’

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?


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.


It’s around this time of year that hockey seasons are beginning to wrap up. Playoffs are either over for some or still going for others. For the ones that didn’t make it to the playoffs or have already been eliminated the focus begins to shift to next season. They start thinking of what they want to accomplish the following year. For some of our players they will looking to make the jump to the next level. For some they will entering their final year at that level and want to have an impact year. And others have had a taste of playing at the highest level and want to continue to improve and contribute more. And for all of these players these goals start with the off-season.

The off-season is when the bulk of the work is done is preparing a hockey player to succeed. This is where previous injuries are addressed and fortified. This is the time when additional size is added for those players whose game would improve as a result.

*** A quick side note regarding gaining weight. Never look to gain weight just for the sake of being heavier. When we add mass to the frame of one of our hockey players it has to be functional weight. By that I mean weight that allows the player to continue to move optimally with no loss in speed or mobility. They are the same quality of athlete, they just weigh more.***

This is also the time when we look to increase the strength of the player and gradually translate that strength to increased power production.

But before you step foot in the weight room and begin addressing all of the items listed above it is important to do something else first. The first thing to do is communicate.

Talk to your coaches from the previous season and find out what they think you should work on. Find out what they think would benefit you the most. Ask them what they thought your strengths were so you continue to include these in your repertoire of skills.

In addition to your coaches talk to whomever will be overseeing your training. Ask them the same questions you asked your coaches. Ask them to help you set some goals. Ask them if they would get in contact with your coaches and fill them in on your plans for the summer. This shows initiative and let’s your coaches know you are serious about improving during the off-season.

Repeat this process of communication with as many of the people that will have a hand in your off-season development. This could included: physiotherapists, chiropractors, trainers, massage therapists, dietician’s, sports psychologists, medical doctor and anyone else who will work with you during the off-season and whose opinion you respect.

The more people you have in your corner the better. And from my perspective I feel confident knowing I am seeing the same things that are relevant to the other professionals involved. For example, if the massage therapist is detecting a tightness in the hip flexors this will help me to watch for this in the training and be able to prescribe drills which will address the issue.

As well, you can be more efficient in your training by focussing on the areas of commonality among all parties involved. If all the coaches are preaching the same message for areas to be addressed during the off-season then we can feel fairly comfortable in zeroing in these keys while not wasting time on elements which are not as relevant to your particular needs. As well there is less duplication of efforts.

Lastly, if one of the individuals in your camp notices something different than everyone than this is also important. These are referred to stastically as outliers and can be very beneficial if relevant. For example, consider that one practitioner sees something in your assessment that no one else picked up. This may be the key to ensuring you are that much more resilient to injury than if it was missed entirely.

So before you get too far into your off-season training spend some time to connect with everyone that is or will be working with you next season. Encourage all the relevant parties to communicate amongst each other. Coaches love to see this in their players, it allows for everyone to be on the same page and makes for an efficient off-season of training.