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Guelph's Holland cooking up a strong season

Friday, 02.20.2009 / 1:00 AM / 2009 NHL Entry Draft

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Guelph Storm forward Peter Holland has been cooking on the ice this season, with 23 goals and 52 points in 56 games.

He's also been cooking off the ice.

Holland shares a billet with teammate Michael Latta, and while they get along fine on the ice, there obviously are some trust issues away from the rink.

"I cook the meals," Holland told NHL.com. "I don't trust him around the stove, so I look after that department when my billets don't. When it comes to cooking, I trust myself more than him."

"He's a great chef," Latta told NHL.com. "We live with an Italian billet, so I think he's picked up some stuff from them."

What's on the menu?

"I'm a spaghetti guy," said Holland. "I like spaghetti for pre-game (meal). I tend to whip that up. If it's not that, then it's Kraft dinner."

And if Latta wants something else?

"I pick the menu," said Holland. "If I'm cooking, I'm picking the menu, that's for sure. I already laid down that law."

Holland's also laid the foundation for establishing himself as an elite player heading into the 2009 Entry Draft. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound center was rated No. 9 among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings.

"When he is competing, he is very noticeable and effective," said NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards. "He is used both on the power-play and penalty-kill units, and at times he has been used at the point on the power play. He skates very well, smooth, and he generates good speed. He has a very good shot."

Guelph coach Jason Brooks is also impressed with Holland.

"I think he has the potential to be a power forward in the sense he's got a great shot, skates well, big body, strong kid," Brooks told NHL.com. "He sees the ice well, good playmaker, scoring threat when he's on the ice. Defensively, he's pretty responsible in his game."

It's the skating, though, that Holland has spent the most time developing. He thought he was a good skater, but working with team skating coach Barb Underhill, the 1984 Olympic pairs figure skating gold medalist for Canada, showed otherwise.

"Last year people thought I was a good skater," said Holland. "Originally she thought I was good skater, too, but once she looked at it on video she started to question whether it was a good stride. … She's taken our hockey strides and broken them down to the angle our knees are at and the angle that our ankles are at to the ice and making our stride more efficient. Just help us get down the ice quicker.

"She really broke it down for me and now I've really gotten a few compliments on my stride."

"He wasn't a bad skater," said Brooks, "but, working with Barb, he tweaked it and she re-worked his stride and he's put a lot of work into it. He's a more fluid skater and conserves energy. Fundamentally, he's better so he saves energy and it's given him an extra gear. He's showing that burst here now. He's showing a level of speed that he maybe didn't possess last year."

The change has worked as he has shattered last season's totals of 8 goals and 23 points in 62 games.

 
"It's pretty tough and it's all muscle memory," Holland said of learning his new stride. "You need to fatigue your muscles and then really concentrate on what you're doing and do it the right way so your muscles remember it. It's taken a lot of time and a lot of hours put in to get my muscles to remember the way they need to work and not the way they used to. And the way they used to was 12 or 13 years of my life, so it's going to be an ongoing process, but something that's definitely shown results so far."

Beside his lofty pre-draft rankings, it earned him a trip to the CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game, where he got to measure his skills against some of the best players available for the 2009 Draft. Skating on a line with Guelph teammates Latta and Taylor Beck, he was a plus-1 with two penalty minutes.

"I like to think of myself as a playmaker," Holland said. "I'm a guy who's going to play both ends of the ice, going to try to finish checks the best I can, be solid defensively. I can be a good passer. I can also bury the puck in the net. I think people will like what they see if I'm on my game."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com.