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Development Camp Skating Drill Videos

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Michelle T.

Today the players worked on different drills than they had for the first couple days of camp. There were systems drills, passing and shooting drills, breakout drills, and an entire rink of rotating station drills for various shooting and passing practices. One particular skating drill run by Jiri Fischer was both revealing and entertaining to watch. Fischer took all the forwards into David's rink and started out with some "easy" skating drills. Skate around these beams quickly, while going down on one knee, turning on one foot, and not falling down.

Ok, well those weren't so bad. You can clearly see which players are excellent skaters, and which ones aren't. It's also fun to see their different styles, even in a drill as simple as this you can see individual styles, quirks, and characteristics.

After a few times through this drill, things got more interesting.

If you guessed there was going to be a skating limbo competition, you'll be as disappointed as I was when that wasn't the case.

Jiri Fischer next ran the guys through a fun and challenging drill where they had to zig zag around the nets, while ducking underneath the foam beams. A few of the shorter players were able to duck under the beams with what looked like ease, however I did feel a little bad for the big and tall guys like Mike McKee (6.05 249#) and Nick Betz (6.05 207#). The boys did very well, and there were fewer "incidents" than I anticipated, but there were two players who fell down, took out the nets/beams, and received an enthusiastic round of stick taps and cheers from their teammates. Who fell? Well, probably not who you'd expect and you'll have to watch to find out. I think the players were just thankful Fischer didn't make them carry a puck with them on this drill. (Below the video the list of players in the order that they went through the drills.)

#59 Tyler Bertuzzi
#62 Zach Nastasiuk
#39 Anthony Mantha
#25 Dylan Larkin
#70 Jerome Verrier
#73 Tyson Spink
#49 Bryce Gervais
#81 Michael Babcock
#37 Anthony Greco
#22 Evgeny Svechnikov
#78 Dominic Turgeon
#63 Adam Marsh
#17 Chase Pearson
#54 Nick Betz
#80 Connor McGlynn
#82 Evan Polei
#96 Axel Holmstrom
#67 Julius Vahatalo
#83 Hampus Melen
#45 Alex Globke
#58 Mike McKee
#44 Alex Kile
#76 Sheldon Dries
#92 Christoffer Ehn

The Wings also posted a video with some drill footage from the ice, and it's a very cool perspective.

It was nice to see the players having some fun while also being put through the paces. There were a lot of other drills today and the players have a lot to process. This was the first time I've seen this particular skating drill, and I like that it focuses on fundamental skating maneuvers that players will need in game situations. Why try to skate through that other guy who may be twice your size, when you can duck around him? Jiri Fischer demonstrates each of the drills he runs the players through, and my god can he still skate. Smooth as silk, skating and turning on one foot, jumping around like most of the players wish they could. I probably say this every year, but watching Jiri Fischer on the ice is still a treat.

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The Defensemen were put through skating paces as well, but their drills focused more on agility and motions that are more commonly needed by D men. Pivoting and jumping on one foot while keeping your balance isn't easy, but this drill can be revealing and no doubt gives Fischer and the rest of the coaches areas to point out to players that they need improvement on. I've talked quite a bit about how good a skater James de Haas is, especially for a big guy (6.04 210#) and I was again impressed with how smoothly he moves in these drills. In today's NHL, being a good/great skater is an increasingly significant asset for a defenseman. Very few teams still look for the big pylon D-man, and a defenseman who's a good skater and can maneuver well can make up for a lot of mistakes. If you have 2 defensemen with comparable skills, but one is a better skater, with all else being equal, the better skater has the edge. Everyone is going to make mistakes, but if you have the ability to make up for those mistakes and mitigate the damage, that's a huge advantage.

#75 James de Haas
#53 Joe Hicketts
#46 David Nemecek
#51 Won-Jun Kim
#87 Nick Azar
#74 Marc McNulty
#64 Kevin Lidstrom
#79 Pat Holway
#86 Grant Gabriele
#95 Jarrett Meyer
#71 Vili Saarijarvi
#89 Travis Walsh
#94 Kevin Lough

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The Wings aren't using Thomas Storm and Andy Weidenbach this year to run their drills, so they have a much different look than usual, but the team appears to be taking a "quality over quantity" approach. They're focusing in on position specific drills that are core components of what these kids will need to continue playing hockey at the next level.