Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/31/09 at 08:58 PM ET
from Mike Knobler of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Thrashers coach John Anderson routinely offered his oldest players the option of skipping a morning skate. Former Thrasher Mathieu Schneider, 39, frequently took him up on it. Kozlov didn’t.
His work didn’t start when the season did.
“I was here most of the summer, and he was in the gym every day,” Anderson said.
Kozlov learned those work habits when he broke into the league with the Detroit Red Wings. He was an 18-year-old Russian kid who could bench press 130 pounds twice.
“I was so skinny,” Kozlov said. “Detroit was patient with me.”
He watched his Russian and Canadian teammates. He learned from Steve Yzerman, who didn’t smoke, didn’t drink and always worked out.
“Fitness is No. 1,” Kozlov said. “If you’re not going to take care of your body, it’s going to be tough to play. When I was 18, 20, I didn’t go to the gym every day. Now, I do.”
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