Oilers new Head Coach, Dallas Eakins, had his first chance to install his rigorous conditioning habits on day two of training camp, today.
Eakins had the players go through an endurance test before the start of practice. Every player I talked to after practice called the test, ‘tough’ and there were some noticeably tired skaters when it was over. All in all, coach Eakins is happy with the results, though he hasn’t seen the data yet.
“I liked how the guys reacted because that’s an easy test to quit in and nobody quit and that’s part of the test,” said Eakins. “I was quite happy with that and even when you saw the guys struggling at the end, nobody stood up and said, ‘I’m done.’
“We had some guys cramping through it, that fought through it. So, good on those young men for that.”
As for where the data goes and how it gets used, Eakins gave some insight into the analytics process from these tests.
“We’ve got people way smarter than me that are going to go through it. It allows us to not only get a plan going forward for the individuals, whether it’s on skating technique or their power on their endurance, but it also gives us something that we may turn back to as a return to play.
“In the past, hockey has been so much of a game of looking and feel. We’ve had a player out for eight weeks, he’s about to return and medical guys say he’s fine to play, I ask the assistant coaches and yeah, he looks good. Well, we need a number. We need something to go back on. If we really want to get down to the dirty numbers, we can throw that test on them again.”
The Oilers skate again tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park.