MONTREAL – Nearly three months after undergoing wrist surgery, Jacob De La Rose says his recovery is right on track.
Back home in Arvika, Sweden, the 20-year-old forward has been hard at work all summer long rehabbing the injury and making the necessary adjustments to his workout routine leading up to the start of the 2015-16 campaign.
“Things are looking really good right now. I’ve been working on my wrist every day. I feel good, and I’m confident that I’m going to be ready for next season,” offered De La Rose, who went under the knife back on May 20 at the Montreal General Hospital, and was projected to be sidelined for 90 days. “Obviously, I haven’t been able to do everything I’ve wanted to in the gym. I had to change some things, but it hasn’t stopped me from training and doing everything I needed to do. I haven’t really had any problems with it.”
That’s good news for the Canadiens’ No. 25, who made the jump to the North American ranks last season, spending the first four months of the year in Hamilton before joining Michel Therrien’s troops on a full-time basis and making his NHL debut in early February.
“I gained a lot of experience last year. I know what playing tough games is all about. At that level, you really have to compete and work hard every practice and every shift of every game. You can’t take any days off. You won’t stay there if you do. You’ve got to be good every night to earn your spot with the team,” mentioned De La Rose, who put up four goals and six points in 33 regular season games with the CH, before suiting up for all 12 postseason contests, too. “[Last season] really was the first step. Now, it’s up to me to show that I’m good enough to play in Montreal. I’m going to work as hard as I can to prove that.”
With that in mind, De La Rose has split his training efforts in two, spending the majority of his time working out on home turf with specialist Erik Nordlöf, while also traveling 250 km to the town of Leksand, where he spent years honing his game before making the trek overseas.
“I spent five years playing in Leksand, so I’ve still got a lot of friends there. One of them is [Nashville Predators forward] Filip Forsberg. We’ve known each other for a long time. We’ve been working out together,” shared De La Rose, who was a teammate of Forsberg’s with Leksands IF. “It’s nice to compete against a guy like that. He’s in such great shape. We always compete against each other. We try to beat each other. It’s good for me to have someone to battle with, especially a guy like him. He’s coming off a great season, and he’s a really good player.”
While De La Rose hasn’t hit the ice just yet, the talented youngster is adamant it’s par for the course, explaining that off-ice training is typically his primary focus until the month of September is on the horizon.
“I haven’t really been on the ice. I usually don’t do it until later in the summer. I do it to get away from hockey a little bit and work on other things. But, I’m really excited to get out there soon when I’m fully recovered from my injury,” confided De La Rose, who has been in constant communication with the Canadiens’ team doctors and athletic therapists throughout his recovery process. “In the meantime, I’ve been trying to develop everything so I can be as prepared as possible. I’ve been working on cardio, strength training and range. I just want to be able to play for as long as I can without getting tired. ”
Needless to say, De La Rose is eagerly anticipating the start of a brand new season, and the opportunity to impress the Habs’ brass once again on hockey’s biggest stage.
“I love playing in Montreal. I love playing in front of passionate fans. You really feel that they love the team and they really care about the team, too. I think that’s the way it should be. It’s more fun to play when people are passionate about it,” concluded De La Rose, who expects to return to Montreal in a few weeks’ time to settle in ahead of training camp. “It was a really good first season for me in North America. I’ve got a lot to prove now, though. I’m really looking forward to what I hope will be a long and successful season.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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