Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Ah! 14 days to go and this years New York Rangers squad will be in camp. Training camp, in the NHL, is a test of physical and mental wills. I, myself, participated in a few of these in my day and I can tell you that it's no fun. Yeah, it's great to see your teammates, but once camp begins it's almost like you wish the season would start already! No matter how hard you train in the offseason, by the 3rd day of 2-a-days, your body is sore and fatigued. You almost feel like a bruised banana from head to toe.
Today's athletes have progressed so much compared to 20-30 years ago. They have better instruction, monitoring, and off-ice training than we did. One key factor in training camp is your head trainer. In the Rangers case, that would be Jim Ramsey. Jim, I'm sure, will be on the top of everything throughout training camp. Proper off-ice conditioning, stretching, and taking precaution with any minor aches and pains (so they don't become major) is essential. Simply put, training camp in the NHL is tough, long, and boring... but it should be! The season is hard and tiresome, so you need to be prepared physically and mentally. As a former player, I can tell you that it gets you ready for the long haul!
Now, on to the Rangers. It's going to be an interesting camp. I won't go into specifics at this point, but there are some key questions that need to be answered. The Rangers have overhauled this team dramatically over the past 2 seasons and GM Glen Sather has brought in a ton of talented players on this current roster. Glen has done his job, now it's up to coach Tom Renney and his staff to put the pieces together. The coaches and brass must find out who plays with who, what the forward lines are going to look like, who will be the defensive pairings, etc. Also, which player or players will surprise and try to take the job of a veteran? For some players, their job is secure. For others, maybe not. That is why training camp and the exhibition games will give coach Renney a chance to mold the pieces as quickly as possible. I look forward to seeing how things are gonna shape up for the Blueshirts and hopefully they gel quicker this year than last season!
Oh, and by the way, nice to hear that classy Joe Sakic has re-upped for one more year with the Avs (and to think the Rangers almost had him...). He's a star and an auto-matic Hall of Famer. Over and out!
Images thanks to Google Images & NHL.com