If some gym bro said he works out for half an hour but it takes him almost three hours to do it, you’d probably laugh him off. And you’d be perfectly justified in doing so.
Why, then, is it any different for an NHL player?
Throughout the playoffs, a ton of talk surrounded Duncan Keith and the minutes he logged: 31:06 per game. Fans know that’s a dump-truck load of hockey, but most would be hard-pressed to prove why. After all, numbers-wise, it’s no more than what our gym bro does.
Consider this: Most NHLers average 10 to 20 minutes per game. Only the best play more than 20, while some play fewer than 10. The average shift lasts merely 45 seconds, and players clear the boards 20 to 30 times. All of this occurs over as much as three hours to play an NHL game. Endurance athletes like runners, cyclists and swimmers can go for much longer and do it without pause.
Everyone in the hockey world knows this is one of the most demanding sports to play. Yet few understand what players endure physiologically that makes what they do so difficult.
Matt Murray’s 2014-15 AHL campaign was one for the ages, but the 21-year-old netminder won’t be parlaying it into a promotion to the NHL quite yet.
After a season in which Murray was named the AHL rookie of the year, won the honor as the league’s top goaltender, got a first all-star team nod and split the award for lowest team goals-against average with teammate Jeff Zatkoff, it wouldn’t have been shocking had Murray earned himself a call up. Turns out, however, that the Penguins coaching staff wants to make sure Murray can keep growing.
“He’s not coming in here and beating out Marc-Andre Fleury and taking over this team,” Pittsburgh assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald told the Penguins’ website. “We love what we have down the line here, and it is down the line. He just turned 21. He needs to play hockey games. You can’t develop if he’s sitting on the bench. That’s just a fact.” Read more
One of the most prominent hockey analytics websites has had its co-creator snatched away by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Jason Mackey, the Penguins have brought in War-On-Ice’s Sam Ventura, who created the analytics site alongside Andrew Thomas, as a consultant who will be responsible for looking over analytics for Pittsburgh.
“Growing up in Pittsburgh and being a Penguins fan, I couldn’t be happier to help out in whatever ways I can help out now,” Ventura told Mackey. Read more
Exactly 10 years ago today, after the conclusion of the lockout and with a new season on the horizon, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the right to the first overall selection in the 2005 NHL draft via the draft lottery, a victory that has changed the franchise forever.
With major junior phenom Sidney Crosby as the consensus first overall pick, there wasn’t much for the Penguins to consider other than what color suits or ties they were going to wear on draft day.
But once Crosby was selected, the expectations were still at an all-time high. The club, which had struggled to a 23-47-8-4 record in 2003-04 and a league-worst 58 points, was expecting Crosby to deliver them the championship caliber teams of the early-1990s. Crosby has more than lived up to the hype.
Over his 10-year career, Crosby has notched 302 goals and 853 points in 627 games, but there are certain highlights that stand out more than others. Here are his 10 best moments as a Pittsburgh Penguin: Read more
Parity in the modern-day NHL creates such a delicate balance between teams that one year’s powerhouse is the next year’s dud, and vice versa. Just ask the Colorado Avalanche, who went from Central Division champs to out of the playoffs, or the Calgary Flames, who went from rebuilding team to round 2 of the post-season.
In all, 2014-15 swapped Calgary, Nashville, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Washington, the New York Islanders and Ottawa into the playoffs, with Colorado, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Jose, Boston, Columbus, and Philadelphia falling out. That’s seven new teams out of 16, or 43.75 percent.
With that crazy stat in mind, which 2014-15 post-season qualifiers might slide out in 2015-16? And which teams might take their places? I’ve chosen three candidates in each category.
No matter how much star talent the Pittsburgh Penguins have, it doesn’t help if those players are watching from the sideline. As such, the Penguins have hired a sports scientist and massage therapist in hopes of keeping players on the ice and out of the trainer’s room.
Earlier this week, Pittsburgh announced that they have named Andy O’Brien as the team’s director of sport Science and performance and brought on Andreas Hüppi as the club’s sports massage therapist.
“We are excited to add such highly-regarded specialists as Andy O’Brien and Andreas Hüppi to our staff,” GM Jim Rutherford said in a release. “We want to look at all aspects of how we train and prepare our players, how we can maximize performance and hopefully minimize injuries. We want to make sure they receive the best information available regarding training, nutrition, rehab and getting proper amounts of rest during a long season.” Read more
In recent weeks, there’s been little word regarding the status of Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward. Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts and are eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency.
Of the pair, Staal is the most important and expensive. The 30-year-old center is still considered their franchise player and earns an average cap hit of $8.25-million, though in real salary he’ll be drawing $9.5 million for 2015-16. ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside wonders what dollar figures will work best for both sides. If unable to reach an agreement, Burnside suggests GM Ron Francis could be forced to part with Staal.
Appearing on TSN’s That’s Hockey, Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press said he believes Staal has been in a funk for several years, largely because of the Hurricanes’ lack of talent. Lawless feels he needs to move on, believing the Hurricanes could get a top-line player, top prospect and a high pick in return. Read more
What off-season? OK, so plenty of NHLers are vacationing in exotic places or healing their banged-up bodies at this time of year. But when goalies unveil new masks, it’s clear some guys are already thinking about next season.
Pittsburgh Penguins stopper Marc-Andre Fleury shows off his latest lid here: