When it comes to fine-tuning one’s craft, repetition helps refine weaknesses. For hockey players, even at the professional level, practice is an essential component to create success as individuals and as a collective.  

Rangers defenseman Braden Schneider approaches every practice as an opportunity to refine areas of his game he can improve upon and continue to bolster strengths in his game.  

Schneider boasts the skillset of a two-way defenseman. With a solid 6-foot-3, 211-pound frame, he’s defensive-minded, but has the finesse to create highlight reel-goals like he did against Toronto on Dec. 19. He dedicates time during practice towards improving both aspects of his multifaceted game.

“I think it's just adding little things like that that can help your game,” Schneider said of practice days. “Things that can create more offense, create breakouts better and try to put them into a game. 

“I work a lot on getting shots off quickly,” Schneider continued. “In a game, I don’t want to get my shots blocked. I know I need to work on that, so I always try to make sure I'm moving and try to practice creating a lane to get a shot or a quick sifter through. Also, I’m always working on footwork. I want to be more deceptive in the corners. I try to work in practice a lot on throwing fakes to get out of corners and make plays.” 

Now in his third NHL season, Schneider is still one of the youngest players on the roster at 22. He and rookie winger Will Cuylle have developed a routine of staying out on the ice the longest following the conclusion of practice. Schneider will take reps walking the blueline before launching a shot from the point, Cuylle, whose strength is around the net front, will practice tipping the midair shots into the net or burying a rebound.  

“He's working on his game and getting to the net to try and tip pucks,” Schneider said. “It works out well for me because I'm trying to work on getting pucks to the net so he can do that in games. We like to try and stay out for a little bit extra after practice and work on that stuff together. Then just being the younger guys, we're usually the ones picking up the pucks at the end. We got a good little thing going on there.” 

And just as important as practice and reps are forcreating success, so is recovery. For Schneider, his post-practice recovery regimen is pretty formulaic, ensuring he maximizes his rest in order to help achieve the best results come game time.  

“After practice, I usually try our cold tub and hot tub stuff for your body,” Schneider said. “I usually do warm first and then cold. Finishing with the cold tub at the end is supposed to be better -- you get more of the effects for recovery. Then, just making sure I have a good meal at home and get my eight hours of rest to be ready for the next day. Usually, we watch some video and stuff of the last game on things that I did wrong or things that I did well, too. 

“Just trying to get better a little bit more each day,” Schneider continued. “You want to make sure that you're mentally prepared for the next one.”