PROSPECTS CAMP – DAY 2
If the Canucks prospects taking part in the 2009 Summer Conditioning Camp thought the first day of action was tough, they got a rude awakening Tuesday.
Despite a few classroom sessions sprinkled throughout the day, the prospects were once again pushed to their limits in a series of unenviable workouts.
The day began with the players in chairs as they took in back-to-back seminars, the first on vision, the second on Olympic lifting, hosted by Bryan Marshall, club president of Power Play Training in Ontario.
This is the second consecutive year the Canucks have exposed the prospects to the dos and don’ts of weight lifting and the message of proper technique and safety was heard loud and clear by all.
The second day of camp was rolling, albeit slowly, when 10 a.m. rolled around and it was time to get down to business. BUSINESS TIME
“Starting in the classroom was tough because you get into a little lull and then we got kicked around pretty good in the weight room and on the bikes,” said Dan Gendur, a forward who spent time with the Victoria Salmon Kings and Manitoba Moose last season.
The prospects were split into two groups with the first sitting down for a light bike ride, or so they thought.
The nearly 45-minute jaunt was as hard as it was rewarding and even though Gendur looked like he’d emerged from a swimming pool following the workout, he was prepared for the challenge.
“I’ve really gotten into biking and I do a lot of it in the summer, so one of my big strengths is the bike,” revealed Gendur.
“My trainer and I bike up Cypress Mountain from Stanley Park and that helps a lot with the VO2 and I could definitely feel a difference in that this year."
Gendur rides four to five times a week, but it’s not always torturous mountains he’s conquering, there are some flatter rides mixed in as well for variety.
The nifty thing about the stationary ride the prospects took part in on this day was that the TV monitor immediately in front of them, which the Canucks typically have reserved for sports, was transformed into a heart rate monitor allowing each player to track his rate.
During the ride Dave Gagner, Vancouver’s director of player development, rode at the back of the group barking out orders as to where everyone’s heart rates should be and how fast or slow they should be going.
“It was pretty tough, I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life,” said Evan Oberg, a recent acquisition of the Canucks.
“We biked for what seemed like an hour and we started at the low stages and worked our way up. I was just trying to keep my heart rate up as high as I could, that’s what they said to do, but it was hard. I kept my feet moving the whole time so that was the main thing.”
Those not biking were taking part in a multitude of stations as part of a circuit training ring. There was stick handling, squats, lifts, jumps, bench press, etc, and not many breaks as players ran through each station three times.
“It really had everything that you need as a hockey player in one workout and you didn’t get much time to rest, which made it even tougher,” added Oberg, who had 21-points on defence for the University of Minnesota-Duluth last season. LUNCH TIME
The pot of gold at the end of the workout was a lunch fit for kings that the prospects shared with the Canucks staff. People from every walk of Vancouver’s day-to-day affairs put time aside to meet the prospects, but surprisingly it was the players who left in awe.
“I loved the staff lunch and I was absolutely amazed at how many people comprise the staff,” said Eric Walsky, an Anchorage, Alaska product who played for Colorado College last season before spending some time on the farm in Manitoba.
“I sat with the marketing group and the guy that maintains the ice. It was quite interesting just listening to how they do their jobs and just listening to their input on what they do for the organization and how they do help out.
“It takes a lot of people to make this place run, I think they said there’s 124 or something, that’s quite big and that’s obviously what it takes for a winning organization.”
What better time for the prospects to visit a nutritionist than with full stomachs after lunch. LEARNING TIME
The third classroom session of the day was perhaps the most informative as players received guidance on how an athlete builds a successful diet.
There were quite a few eye-openers as to what should and shouldn’t be eaten, according to the players.
Walsky, who said he treats his body like a temple, won’t be going near alligator pears anymore.
“I eat a lot of avocados and I didn’t realize how fattening they are,” he laughed. “It’s not a no-no, but she put it in the category of eat this if you want to gain weight
. That’s not what I’m trying to do, so no avocados for me.”
Gendur suffered an even bigger blow than that as the sushi lover was delivered some hard truth about his favourite meal.
“Sushi is a big one that she said to stay away from,” Gendur said. “It’s just the white rice I guess, I don’t know. There’s some great little sushi places I like to go to where I live so I’ll have to cut back on that and limit how much I am eating it.”
For the most part Gendur said his diet matches what the nutritionist recommended eating, but that he needs to even his food groups out a little better.
“I’m someone that needs to lean up and get working on my body fat. I like to load up the protein and not eat a lot of carbs and I’ve got to balance that out a little better and see how the results are.” MEDIATIME
To round of the day the prospects were thrown to the wolves during the first media session of the week. Everyone came out alive and it was actually Canucks GM Mike Gillis, who addressed the cameras and recorders before the players, who splashed the biggest waves.
Gillis discussed, among other things, the goaltending carousel that involves Roberto Luongo
, Cory Schneider
and newcomer Andrew Raycroft.
Despite rumours of Schneider, a Canucks first-round pick from 2004, being traded to the highest bidder, Gillis said the young netminder will be in camp this fall to compete for a job.
"He (Schneider) is going to come and compete to make this team," said Gillis. "If he makes it, he stays. If he doesn't, he'll have to go and spend some more time in Manitoba.
"Our long-range plans are to keep him as a Vancouver Canuck and having him play here.”
While many downplay the impact serving as backup to Luongo would have on Schneider, Gillis said it wouldn’t be a terrible position for the former Manitoba Moose netminder to be in.
"There's a lot of merit of being around a guy considered the best player in the league at his position. There also is merit in taking NHL shots and being part of an NHL team and part of an NHL environment."
During the scrum Gillis also commented on contract talks with Luongo and the possibility of bringing Mats Sundin back to the team. Click here to watch the entire interview.