Power skating coach Barb Aidelbaum works with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Dan Hamhuis during an informal skate of Canucks players at UBC's Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver on Tuesday, Sept 18, 2012.
Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG
VANCOUVER — While most of his locked-out teammates had long since left the ice Tuesday, Vancouver Canuck defenceman Dan Hamhuis was on another sheet at UBC's Thunderbird Arena diligently doing drills with skating coach Barb Aidelbaum.
Hamhuis is considered one of the smoother skaters on the Canucks, if not the entire NHL, so watching him work for a full hour with Aidelbaum was a bit intriguing. What gives? What could he possibly learn at age 29 after eight NHL seasons and two in the American Hockey League?
“I'm certainly not the fastest and quickest guy in the NHL but I'm trying to be,” Hamhuis said with a laugh.
The Smithers native said he first worked with Aidelbaum when he was a junior and young pro, attending summer skating camps arranged by his original agent Ross Gurney. When Hamhuis signed with the Canucks two summers ago, he decided to give Aidelbaum a call.
“I always feel it's a great way to start a season, just getting all the technical stuff down and technique back to where it should be,” Hamhuis said. “Since signing with Vancouver, I've worked with her for 2-3 sessions before training camp. We work on just being efficient at pivoting, not wasting steps, not sliding where you should be pushing, just the little finer details of skating.
“As a defenceman, you have a lot of activity to deal with and agility and backwards skating are huge components. I have certain imbalances throughout my body that we kind of focus on to make sure they're not holding me back. What she does is all customized to each player.”
With the lockout still in its infancy, Hamhuis wasn't certain how much, or how long, he'll continue working with Aidelbaum.
“We've had four sessions since I've been back in Vancouver and maybe we'll spread it out a little bit more,” Hamhuis said. “I'll probably work with her maybe once a week now, or maybe once every two weeks. We'll see how long this goes.”
SWEET 14: Nine NHL players and five would-be Canucks comprised the group of 14 that skated Tuesday at UBC. The players again wore their Canuck practice jerseys inside out, although the Canuck logo was visible on their helmets and pants.
The NHL roll call included Hamhuis, the Sedin twins, Cory Schneider, Manny Malhotra, Kevin Bieksa, Mason Raymond, Max Lapierre and L.A. Kings blueliner Willie Mitchell. The prospects, who are heading to the Chicago Wolves' American League training camp Sept. 28, were led by Jordan Schroeder and Kevin Connauton. Also in the group were Kellen Tochkin, Prab Rai and minor-leaguer John Negrin.
The locked-out players won't skate on Wednesday but instead plan to play soccer.
“Working out and skating five days a week could get boring fast so we've made plans to have a day in between where we're going to do some cross training and make it as fun as possible,” said Hamhuis. “Whether it's soccer or maybe beach volleyball or something, we're going to be creative and make it fun.”
The Grouse Grind is apparently out.
“It's been suggested but we're finding other things to do, yeah,” Hamhuis said..
NAME BLAME: A few NHL players have used the internet to get personal with commissioner Gary Bettman. Teemu Selanne called him the “NHL's most hated person” in his blog (translated from Finnish to English) while others have made references to Bettman's apparent lack of a noticeable athletic career.
“That's just guys speaking their minds,” said Malhotra, a member of the NHLPA's bargaining committee, when asked if he felt it was counter-productive to throw around the personal insults. “They're grown men and I don't think that type of name calling really hurts their feelings, to be quite honest. It is what it is.”
“Players can say whatever they want,” said Daniel Sedin. “We're just trying to get a deal done. That's all we're really worried about.”
OPPORTUNITY LOST? If the lockout drags well into the fall and there aren't proper training camps, or any camps at all (worst-case), Jordan Schroeder intends to keep plugging along in the American League. Schroeder, the Canucks' first pick in the 2009 entry draft, was thought to have a crack at the big club with Ryan Kesler sidelined until at least December by shoulder and wrist surgeries.
Schroeder, who turns 22 on Sept. 29, has 31 goals and 72 points in two AHL campaigns.
“Emotionally, I'm great,” he said. “I'll get some more time to develop and, hopefully, when I do get my opportunity, I'm more ready than I am now. I would have liked to have a pre-season here and prove myself but I can't control it. So I'm going to have the mindset of just going down to Chicago and working my butt off so when the time does come, I'll hopefully get an opportunity to come up.”
A native of Minnesota, Schroeder opted to stay in Vancouver even though there is plenty of ice available for locked-out players in his home state.
“I was in Minnesota all summer training but I wanted to come here and be around the (NHL) guys and get to know them a little better,” he said. “They're awesome guys. They treat all the younger guys with respect. So it's been good. I'll be leaving this weekend to head home for a couple of days and then I'll probably drive to Chicago for the Wolves camp.”
QUOTABLE: “This isn't much different than skating in the summer. You find your ice and you find your weight room. The tricky part right now is knowing how to taper, or build up, your program. But you just deal with the situation.” – Canuck winger Mason Raymond on lockout workouts.
“We're all trying to come up with some drills. That's the tough part.” – Daniel Sedin on the player-run skates at UBC.
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