If you’ve never been to Daryl Reaugh’s great blog “Razor with an Edge,” now would be a good time to start. He’s one of the announcers on the Dallas Stars’ broadcast team, and in my mind, one of the best in the business right now. I’m sure he’ll be on more national broadcasts before long.
I’m a fan, so it sucks to have to use him being wrong about something as my jumping off point, but I think he’d be cool with a reasonable argument from the other side.
Today he wrote “10 things that need to go” in regards to the NHL - I know how these “top 10″ lists go (as you may have noticed). You often find yourself thinking “I have nine, but just one more would be so much more….round,” so you jam one in there.
Coming in at 10 of his “Things that need to go” list was morning skates.
From Razor with an Edge:
10.) Morning Skates
Originally adopted to get players out of bed and perhaps curb late night extra-curricular activity the night before games, its unnecessary nowadays – it’s a much different time. Adapt. Abolish. It’s now merely a wooby blanket for coaches and some players, and a colossal time waste for everyone else. Not to mention an unnecessary added workload for the athletes.
Shouldn’t happen, won’t happen.
I agree with him that it’s a much different time. Most guys aren’t out ’til all hours chasing women and booze like they (supposedly) used to. Most are getting their rest, acting like pros and simply trying to get rich and famous and win a Stanley Cup.
But precisely because it’s a different time is why you need morning skate. What do you think guys would do if they woke up on gameday without the skate?
They’d get out of their houses and get their legs moving to avoid feeling lethargic later in the day. Whether that means a little bike ride, a walk/jog or going for a little tour of the mall, they’d definitely do something to get the blood flowing. And if they could snap a couple tape-to-tape passes in the process, well then, even better. I bet if the rink was open guys would go on their own these days, regardless of team rules.
And honestly, the skates aren’t early. You can get enough sleep. If you slept any more than that it’s the same as not getting enough sleep in terms of how you feel physically. Instead of making sure guys don’t go out, it’s just a way to make sure they actually get out of the wrapper at a decent hour. There’s still nap time if they need more.
From a different standpoint: I’m doing podcasts now, and I’ve learned that you can’t just turn on the mics and wing it. You have to game plan, prepare topics, research stats, and test stuff out. For the coaches and the rest of the staff, it’s good to get everybody in the same place to go over their plans for the night, and to get all the players in the same place to check on things like injuries and moods.
Guys need that time for medical treatments in the morning, evaluation and gear checks too. You don’t want to get to the rink two hours before the game and have a guy noticed his skate blade is broken, another notice he’s blown two rivets and a third discover his new sticks are wrong-handed. You need to get your stuff together.
The biggest thing for me was, I LOVED morning skates. When I lose myself like Happy Gilmour in my happy place, that’s where I drift off to.
It’s not too early, you grab a coffee and do a crossword puzzle in your stall, stretch, tape sticks, bullshit with the guys, and participate in a (usually) stressless, short “practice” where you’re not being evaluated. You can’t beat that (which is precisely why the “extra workload” comment is wrong. Morning skates are a breezy float-a-thon).
His list contains a lot of things that I totally agree need to go – the trapezoid, the phrase “kicking motion” (if the skate stays on the ice, count the goal), even icing on the penalty kill could go….but abolishing morning skate?
That’s going too far, good sir.