On the first day of training camp, new Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz set the tone for the upcoming season by putting all 66 Caps players through a difficult skating test.
According to The Patriot-News’ Tim Leone, “the conditioning skate involved skating the length of the rink down and back twice and then back through the red line.” What made it worse was this came immediately after each group’s 45-minute practice session. Talk about brutal.
The players only had to do the test three times if they were able to beat 38 seconds on the first two trips and 41 seconds on the third. However, if they failed to meet those times on any of the tests, they had to do the insane skate twice more.
On Thursday, Brooks Laich spoke about how the new coaching staff would require every player to meet the same standards and that they didn’t care “what your last name is.” Which brings me to these photos of a pained-looking captain and three-time MVP Alex Ovechkin after completing his test.
Photos by Amanda Bowen
If you think Ovechkin looks gassed, take a look at Stan Galiev after he completed his.
The Capitals’ Mike Vogel spoke to Trotz after practice and the 52-year-old hockey lifer explained the method to his madness.
“With the skate testing, the guys are in great shape,” says Trotz. “If you’re a better skater and you’re in great shape, you’re probably going to pass that test. If you’re an average skater or a below average skater and you’re in great shape, you’re going to have a tough time getting through that test. But at the same time, it teaches some lessons. It taught some lessons to me and it taught some lessons to some veteran players who maybe missed on one of those early reps and now they’ve got that mental barrier of ‘Now I’ve got to go the whole distance.’ And that’s hard and it’s hard fighting through that.
“It’s like giving up a bad goal on the first shift of the game. Now, does that affect the rest of your game or do you push it to the side and then get your game in order? And that’s what happened with a couple of guys. Some guys tried to manage the situation too much and then got burned by it, and then they had to fight through it. So there are some great lessons in there.
“The bigger lessons for me after that was how you responded after some adversity. Your mind says, ‘I can’t do this,’ or ‘It’s going to be too hard, I can’t do this.” And what you find out is that your mind is a lot stronger. Your body is strong, but your mind controls everything. You’ve got to talk yourself through it.”
I love it.
Editor’s note: By the way, these photos are by the newest contributor to RMNB, Amanda Bowen. She’s super talented and will be snapping pics and helping us do video all year long. You can follow her on Twitter here.
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