Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/22/13 at 09:15 PM ET
from Allen Panzeri of Senators Extra,
When Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray got his first coaching job in the National Hockey League 32 years ago with the 1981-82 Washington Capitals, “player development” didn’t extend far beyond getting the guys to stop smoking.
Players weren’t inclined to do much more than show up and play hockey, and teams were by and large OK with that. It’s just the way it had always been done.
“It was a different world then,” said Murray. “When we had them during the season, we did a little bit of off-ice training, not a lot, but a little. But we didn’t do the strength training we do now, and we didn’t have the coaching in those areas that we have now.
“And, yeah, guys smoked. They came to camp to get into shape.”
The combination of a restrictive salary cap and the prohibitive cost of building a team through free agency is changing the game in the front office as well as on the ice. Whereas many borderline prospects would just fade away back then, teams like the Senators are employing the lessons of math and science to get the most out of their draft picks.
Professional hockey meets research and development.
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