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There’s A Reason For The Morning Skate

from Joshua Clipperon of the CP at CBC,

D.J. Smith knows what the data suggests.

NHL players strapping on their gear for a morning skate seven or eight hours before a game probably isn't the best use of energy.

But in an abbreviated, pandemic-condensed season where practice time is limited and days off priceless, the Ottawa Senators head coach sees benefits in a hockey tradition that, for many in recent years, has come to be viewed as nothing more than an archaic nod to the past.

And he's not alone.

"Science says to not skate on the day of a game," Smith said. "But there's so little teaching time ... you have to use every opportunity."

One of the sport's staples from a bygone era, morning skates that see players handle the puck for roughly 15 or 20 minutes were often used as a kind of roll call to make sure everyone was out of bed and in the right frame of mind.

In a 56-game campaign brought on by COVID-19 where teams might suit up for as many as five games in seven nights — with travel mixed in — those brief on-ice sessions could be more important than ever as coaching staffs look to find a balance between rest and instruction.

"They're going to have value," Calgary Flames bench boss Geoff Ward said. "We have to use them as practices."


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink


jhpcarrier97's avatar

How’s that working out Ottawa?  I noticed you in the standings!

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 01/28/21 at 12:17 AM ET


This would drive me crazy and make it much harder to
be consistently rested and at top energy every game.
One bit of science is how important sleep is to mental and
physical recovery and focus when it matters.

I would rather come in to talk to coaches and watch video
and work on specific things when it made sense. Not:
everyone report to your school lockers at 8:00

Maybe they think it also helps keep guys on a schedule or
from staying up too late? The extra commuting and all that
is not always efficient.

Anyhow, never been a pro athlete and I’m sure no coach in their right mind
would care too much what I thought if I was. But they should also consider
in a densely packed schedule like this how important rest is. The only time I would want to practice or skate early is to get me ready for a 12pm game.

Posted by lefty.30 on 01/28/21 at 09:15 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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