I think I must have lost at least six pounds of sweat at the track this morning. Most of the guys probably did. It was very humid—which, of course, I don’t mind—but it was fun. We arrived at the track around 7:30 and split up into three stations: agility, one-legged hops, and sled pulls. I’ve been doing sled pulls all summer at Notre Dame, so I felt pretty prepared for those.
An hour or so later we arrived back at the rink for some on-ice testing. I think the tests put everybody into a competitive mindset. I saw it as a chance to challenge my teammates and prove to myself that I’m up there with all the rest of these talented guys.
We followed up the tests with a high-tempo practice. I’m familiar with most of the drills, but the coaches have given me some helpful tips. One thing I think is very interesting is that the coaches here emphasize using the backhand on the breakout, especially if you’re a centerman. If you catch the puck on your backhand, you don’t want to pull it to your forehand because it will just give the back-checker time to lift your stick. So the coaches want us to catch the puck and have the confidence to move with it on your backhand. It’s something I haven’t really heard a lot about from past teams, but we’re emphasizing that here, so I’ll try to work it into my game more.
We didn’t have too much downtime yesterday, but I had a chance to hang out with Vrana, Gersich, Spinner, Vanecek, and Ruzicka. We walked around the hotel area a little bit. Gersich is best friends with one of my buddies from school, Anders Bjork, and I’ve played against Spinner before, so it was fun to get to know them better.
I’m looking forward to the Nationals game tonight. I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I appreciate the game’s history and culture. I’ve been to a couple of Cubs and Sox games. It’s just fun just to experience the stadium atmosphere and compare it to hockey.