Some members of the U.S. hockey team heading to the Sochi Games this weekend will be carrying some high-tech gear with them that will be kept under wraps. During the last couple years there’s been a growing trend among NHL players trying to protect their lower legs from skate blades. Detroit equipment manager Paul Boyer has many of his players wearing the socks, and among the Red Wings heading to Sochi include goalie Jimmy Howard playing for the Americans, Henrik Zetterberg with Sweden and Pavel Datsyuk with the Russians. ”If a guy is wearing them and a skate goes across his calf or Achilles tendon, they’re going to be protected.
I can’t help but still be excited about my wedding this past off-season, and, of course, my lovely wife! We had a few hockey themed elements interspersed throughout. Here are a couple of them. You can see more, and photos of us with some of my hockey family, by clicking on here, or on “Help Mrs. Skating Guy" right under “Ask the Skating Guy.”
Hayley Wickenheiser has been named Canada’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. This is a fantastic decision. Ms. Wickenheiser has had an exemplary Olympic career, representing Canada in both the summer, and winter games, winning multiple medals in women’s hockey, most of them gold. Not only is she deserving of this honour, but it is also a pragmatic decision. A seasoned competitor like Ms. Wickenheiser will, likely, be less distracted by the emotions, and excitement of carrying the Maple Leaf. Also, as a competitor in a team sport, if the responsibility of bearing the flag does affect her performance, there are both time to recover, and teammates to compensate for any dip in performance she might experience. In every way, this is a perfect decision. Congratulations, Hayley; we are proud to have you represent us!
I have heard a lot of quotes about Bobby Ryan today, and I wonder what the context was. Some are about his skating; I have not watched Mr Ryan skate very often, so I am not in a position to comment on those comments.
Bryan Burke’s quote is the most reported, and may seem harsh, but it was, I believe, also said in a meeting about constructing the team. The decision makers in those meetings need to be candid, and share their opinions openly. I wonder, though, if there was any understanding about what could, should, or would be reported from the meetings. Should we not, also, ask whether USA Hockey should have allowed any reporters in those meetings, given the things that need to be said in such discussions. At any rate, I have to feel badly for Bobby Ryan today. I hope that, in the future, these necessary, closed door comments remain behind those doors, allowing team officials to say something like this:
"Bobby Ryan is certainly one of the top American hockey players, and he was always considered for Team USA. You have to remember that we have to put together what we feel is the best team we can, not just a list of the best players. It was a difficult decision, but we felt that there was not an appropriate place where Bobby fit on this team, this year. We respect Bobby, and wish him continued success."
I hope, for the sake of Team USA, that they don’t find themselves, suddenly, in need of an additional forward. Mr. Ryan might not be inclined to accept.
Senators Immobile - If you watch the Sharks’ goals, you will see a trend. Ottawa’s defenders are standing still. This is because they are not holding themselves in a proper stance. Their legs are straight, their feet are wide apart, and they are too tall. This means they cannot move and react to the Sharks’ quick puck movement. Proper athletic posture would have given the Senators the opportunity to defend against these plays.
Throw the book at #Dubinsky. This is clearly a head shot, and a dangerous, unacceptable, play. I have enormous respect for Saku Koivu, after all he has battled, and accomplished. It saddens me to say it, but I do not think we will see him play another NHL game. At this point in his career, and given the lengthy road to recovery from a devastating injury like this, I think the end result will be retirement. Athletes should not end their careers at the hands (or elbows) of other athletes.
Stamkos’ Weight Transfer - Watch Stamkos’ feet on his one timer goal. He has control of his body on one foot, which allows him to adjust to the oncoming puck, as well as drive through it effectively to bury a hell of a slap shot.
Matt Duchene scores this goal, relying on two things - puck protection, and skating skill. Placing your body between the puck and the opponent is a fundamental principle in puck protection. Duchene knew he wanted to do that, and used his skating ability to keep the puck away from the Carolina defender, while moving into a shooting position. It all began with knowledge and skating ability. Throw in a pinch of finish, and you have a highlight reel goal.
Tomorrow, at the Magic Hockey Training Centre Open House, get 25% off training with SPS Power Skating’s Coach Duncan - The Skating Guy! Come on down to MHTC - http://www.magichockey.ca - and see what we’re all about. Free food, free swag, and free assessments! Learn to Skate/Beginner, Player, and Goalie programmes will be featured. Don’t miss it!
RSVP via facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/191542101025838/?fref=ts
I would post a talking head video. I know I missed you with an on-ice video from Monday as well. I’m a bit busy right now, spending time with my new wife, Elizabeth. We were married on Saturday, August 31st, so, later this month, I will be uploading new content again. Until then, start thinking about how you want to improve your skating over the course of the 2013-2014 season, and send me lots of questions to answer when I get back!