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Canuck Report: Octagon to the yoga studio

by Colin Hope / Vancouver Canucks

Puck Stopping Time

Day 2 of the Canucks 2013 Prospect Development Camp began with the goaltenders taking the ice for the first time in this year’s camp. One thing you notice immediately is just how massive this year’s crop of tenders are. Everyone of them tops out at over 6-foot-1 and, in fact, Phillippe Trudeau and Matieu Corbeil stand above the rest of the prospects as the tallest players in camp at 6-foot-6.

They spent the first 30 minutes on the ice with Canuck goaltending coaches, Rollie Melanson and Dan Cloutier, two guys who know a thing or two about stopping a puck.

“I’m just trying to take as much when I’m out there with Rollie and Clootch, those are two of the better guys in this league to learn from,” said Joe Cannata, who’s on his third trip to the Development Camp.

“They don’t try to change your game fully. They will look at your tendencies and say ‘you’re doing this one way when it’s a little better doing it another,’ things like that. But then they aren’t going to change your whole position.”

Fighting it out

"I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out."

You may have heard the old Rodney Dangerfield zinger before and, true, the game has changed, but the boys tend to drop the gloves from time to time still.

Being properly prepared for the fights that happen in an 82 game NHL season is a necessity, even for the guys who might not be scraping regularly, so a part of the Development Camp is MMA training.

“The MMA stuff is new for me, but I really liked it, “ admitted Alexandre Grenier.

“I learned a lot, you pick up a lot of little tricks that they teach you for when you do get in a fight on the ice.”

Not everyone attending camp is going to become the next Gino Odjick, but the fight training goes further than just learning to punch someone’s lights out.

“I found that the MMA is really good for preparing yourself mentally for anything,” said Nicklas Jensen. “Whether it is be practice, going into a big game and obviously if you are going to fight someone.”

The mental preparation was the main point Joe Cannata took from the MMA training session as well.

“It’s good for the mental game, which is huge for a goalie, and a good core exercise. And it will come in handy if you get jumped,” chuckled the goalie, who could also get some pointers from his goaltending coach, Dan Cloutier, who as we know could throw ‘em with the best of them.

Stretching it out

After the intensity that is Mixed-Martial Arts training, the players needed a cool down, and what better way than a relaxing yoga session.

Yoga may not seem to be the most likely of training exercises for professional hockey players who require maximum levels of intensity to succeed, but like the MMA lesson before, it was a hit with the players.

“It’s a great stretch, but I think it’s one of the best ways to relax after all the stressful things we’ve been going through,” said Grenier, who’s been practicing yoga for a couple of years with previous teams he’s played for.

For the goaltenders like Cannata, flexibility is key and just as important is keeping the injury bug at bay.

“The key components for being a goaltender is flexibility and being injury free, so for us goalies the yoga is probably more beneficial but the MMA was a good time too.”

Competition begins

The players wrapped up a long second day with the first actual hockey being played with a controlled scrimmage.

After a couple days of seeing new faces and making friends, this is the time the players have most been looking forward to and when the competitive juices begin flowing.

“I feel like this a great group we have here and everyone’s getting along really well and are becoming good friends, but in the end we are all fighting for the same spot,” said Jensen.

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