It's early June, but new Blackhawks strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman is already making sure some of his players are in mid-season form.
"My job is to prepare the team for excellence," Goodman said. "It's time for me to do what I've been hired to do, and that's to get these guys ready to compete at the highest level and win a Stanley Cup."
It's not just talk.
By 9 am this particular morning, Goodman has players Dustin Byfuglien, Nathan Davis and Rene Bourque running wind sprints across the floor of the United Center and lifting weights. It's all part of Goodman's vigorous off-season regimen that will hopefully yield results next season.
|Paul Goodman works with Dustin Byfuglien on his strength during a morning workout. |
Goodman was most recently the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Vermont, where he worked with current Hawk Patrick Sharp, and earlier worked at the University of Wisconsin where he crossed paths with Adam Burish.
Goodman has also worked with NHL players such as Martin St. Louis and Dany Heatley and has spent time with USA Women's Hockey and the New York Rangers.
Goodman said that he appreciates that his new position gives him the ability to concentrate on training for hockey, and it lets him get to know each player intimately, rather than working with 400-plus student athletes who are training for a range of sports.
"I don't know if many of these guys have ever had a hockey-specific training program," he said. "Developing a level of consistency in training is going to be a key, and building it up on an individual and team level will be very important to our success."
Goodman said that working for injury prevention, especially in the lower joints and back, and improving recovery time are going to be major components of his fitness regimen.
"The game is powerful, and there's a lot of strength and exertion," he said. "We have to make sure that our athletes recover quickly from game-to-game and practice-to-practice."
"The game is such a grind," said Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon. "There's a fine line between fitness and fatigue, and you have to stay fit for 82 games. Strength and conditioning is a key to keeping players healthy and being able to play at a fast tempo."
|Goodman with Blackhawks prospect Nathan Davis. |
Goodman said that the Blackhawks' training and exercise room will be renovated soon so more players will be able to get the most from their workouts.
He added that initial player reaction to their new training has been very positive. Goodman has called every player on the Hawks' roster and given them an off-season training regimen, and many of the players have already been in Chicago to train with him one-on-one.
"I think the response has been great," he said. "I've had about five or six guys coming in very consistently, and I've been welcomed by the rest with open arms."
"Paul's got great knowledge and tremendous passion and energy," said Tallon. "When he shows that dedication to our players, they will love working with him."
"It's an unbelievable step up," said Goodman. "I've got great respect for the players and the organization; they've given me all of the tools to do a great job here."