First off, I need to start with an omission; After winning the league titles and in the aftermath, I wasn’t a 100% sure if I had the fire in me to go through the rigors of the off season and fully commit myself to training. However, after about a week off, I started to really miss the gym and the work that goes into getting ready for the hockey season. After the first workout, I didn’t need to ask any more questions about my dedication or if I still had something to give. The fire still burns.
I have also been on the ice already and plan on starting skating much, MUCH, earlier than previously. I have sets some things to improve on, in terms of stuff going on the ice and the best way to practice those is to make use of as much ice time as I can get. Ideally, I’d like to hire out a rink for myself for an hour or two per week, but I don’t have deep pockets to do that.
I had originally feared that I’d be turning into Teemu Selanne, in that I’d mull my decision for months, but the fact is that I’m still relatively young and managed to get through last season pretty much injury free – well I didn’t miss any games due to injury – so I felt that I had a good base to start building on. Sure the season went on for a bit longer than for some other teams, but in the end I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
In terms of workouts, this off-season has been a total polar opposite from last season. This time last year I was just about getting my arm out of the sling following my shoulder operation. Something that has aided me a lot in the off season is the work that I put in from January on-wards to really get into game shape. While we had a break at December, I evaluated where I was fitness wise and had to devise a plan to get into better game shape. This decision was borne out of a few drills and game situations, particularly in the corners and face-offs, I just didn’t have enough – or any – upper body strength to really make a difference. Where I found that where my stamina and endurance were OK, I lacked strength and I didn’t start to get that back until March-April time, when it all really mattered.
So that work has given me a good base to build on. Given that in September/October I was starting from square one, I have managed to come in leaps and bounds. I have found that I am now able to push more weight and really test the boundaries of what I can do. I think that up-until recently I still had this mind set that “I need to watch out for the shoulder”, but the more I’ve been working out, the more I realise that I have nothing to worry about.
One of my key areas of focus is to get my shot stronger this season – and as always, speed – so I have been doing a lot of work for muscle groups that you use when shooting. Additionally, I wanted to be more explosive to improve the power that goes into the first two or three strides, so there is a lot of jumping on boxes and stuff taking place and a lot of lifting bars off of the ground and then putting them down again.
Additionally, I’ve made a couple of lifestyle changes recently, which have held and I hope will become permanent fixtures in my overall look on life. I’ve often said that I’m the worst person on the planet when it comes to energy drinks. Well, I’ve decided to cut them out entirely and so far, I’ve managed a month without an energy drink. Additionally, I have significantly cut down the amount of other fizzy drinks as well, with the overall goal to cut them out completely as well. In terms of diet, it’s still the same. A lot of experimenting on what works for me and trying to eat like an adult and sensibly. Except for the occasional donut. I’m a sucker when it comes to donuts.
Why do all this? Well, where I said I’m still young, the fact is that I can’t get away with youthful exuberance anymore, in fact I haven’t done in years. I can’t sit on my backside and turn up to find that an 18-year old will skate circles around me. Also, I have this goal in the back of my mind that wherever I will play, I will be in shape to log big minutes and keep that going consistently throughout the season.
So that’s about it for the moment. There are some exciting updates and announcements in the pipeline as well, so that should keep things fresh and exciting going forward.