Skating sucks, and other lessons from Senators practice Friday

Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean made it clear early in his tenure that his players would be skating this season, and skating a lot. His message to youngsters looking to make the squad was simple: “You’d better go fast.”


Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean made it clear early in his tenure that his players would be skating this season, and skating a lot. His message to youngsters looking to make the squad was simple: “You’d better go fast.”

Players like Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza are learning how exhausting that philosophy can be.

While it’s painful now, they feel they’ll ultimately gain from it.

“It helps you find your legs and as much as you don’t like it when you’re exhausted after practice, you like the fact that you’re feeling better going into the season,” he said. “You need this this time of year, you need to skate. It’s not fun, but it’s what’s needed and what makes your team strong.

“We’ve had tough camps in the past and maybe got away from that last few years and I feel like this has been one of our harder camps,” Spezza added.

All the skating has given Alfredsson a confidence boost, health-wise.

“I think it has (been helpful), especially mentally, to be able to handle my groin and hip flexors, not just my back, to be able to handle this and not feel like I’m limping out of here every day. So it’s been tough, but it’s…been really good for me and the team and I think, not peaking now, I think we’ll benefit from this going forward.”

A NEW AGE FOR NHL DISCIPLINE

Spezza was impressed with Brendan Shanahan’s handling of the first two suspensions of the NHL season, because the new league disciplinarian actually explained — on video — his reasoning behind lengthy suspensions for Philly’s Jody Shelley and dash-happy Flames forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond.

“They want to be clear and concise about why he’s giving out games, they’re not just throwing numbers out there,” he said.” I think it’s a good start for him and you feel like there’s thought that’s gone into it you feel like we have confidence in how he makes decisions.”

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