AP's Coaches Blog; Nothin' But Summer

You're looking at the new assistant coach of the New Jersey Devils

To quote country singer Dallas Smith; "hangin' out, talkin' 'bout, nothin' but summer". Mix in a little hockey talk, and you have my most recent blog post!

First of all.... what is going on outdoors? Last night was 9 degrees (high 40's Fahrenheit for the American readers). Mother Nature really needs to step up her game! Anyway, moving on to hockey.

My annual "night skates" kicked off on Tuesday night, and I have been pleasantly surprised with some of the up-and-coming prospects. One X Hockey Alum who has flown under the radar in recent years is Evan White. White is smooth as silk with the biscuit, and has a "Q League" release. Boy, the puck really flies off that kids stick. I would be shocked if White doesn't crack a Major Junior line up next year; White is Drummondville Voltigeurs property.

Congratulations to Newfoundlander Ryane Clowe on being added to the New Jersey Devils coaching staff for the 2016-17 NHL season. I had the pleasure of training with Clowe for two summers under Bobber Thompson, and have skated with Clowe in various summer skates over the years. To say that Clowe is a physical specimen is an understatement; the man is freakishly strong, and ultra-competitive. I have also heard that Clowe spends copious amounts of time in the film room analysing tape, which is what new-age coaches have to do in order to master their craft. In my opinion, there is no way that Clowe won't be a successful pro coach. Clowe has all the tools to be successful, and I think that the players will have a great deal of respect for him. Good luck Ryane! More details can be found right here http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/devils-name-rya...

You know what Newfoundlander's need during every summer campfire? Warm pants. Jogging pants. We have X Hockey jogging pants folks! Drop me a line if you're interested in a pair, I have all sizes available. ap@xhockey.ca

Congratulations to #xhockeyplayers Nick Gosse and Kyle Petten on winning gold at the U16 World Ball Hockey Championships in Sheffield, England this week. Canada defeated Slovakia 2-1 in the finals to take home the big prize. Gosse, a 3rd round pick of the Rimouski Oceanic in the 2016 QMJHL Midget Draft, is a heck of an athlete. Petten played at Notre Dame School in Wilcox, Sask. in 2015-16 and will be a highly-coveted prospect in next year's Q draft. I look forward to seeing both guys on the ice in the coming weeks.

Last but not least.... after a tagged Facebook post last week, I promised RPHS staff alumni Todd Macdonald that I would do a little blog article on hockey stick length. I am a man of my word, so here goes. There is no such thing as a proper stick length. There is no simplified formula, equation, or algorithm that determines the proper stick length for a player. Over the course of your lifetime as a hockey player, you will receive umpteen "professional opinions" on how long your stick should be. You will hear that your stick should be "to your nose, cheek, forehead, or just about any part of the facial anatomy" from Squirt to Pro. My opinion; younger players should use a shorter stick (to your chin) until they learn the fundamentals of stickhandling. Once a player has the fundamentals down, players can experiment with different stick lengths to determine what they are most comfortable with. A shorter stick will give you better control of the puck in tight spaces, while a longer stick will increase your shot power (more torque) and allow you to get your stick into more passing lanes. If you don't believe me; take a look at the pros. The best player in the history of the game (#99) used a shorter stick. However, the 5'8'' Marty St Louis used a telephone pole! Datsyuk uses a long stick, Duchene uses a shorter stick. See my point? It really comes down to personal preference. For a guy my size, using a longer stick (just past my nose) was beneficial for me because I needed a little extra reach on the Penalty Kill. One thing I do believe is that players can take it to the extreme on the short side sometimes, which can be dangerous once contact hockey starts. Some guys go to Bantam hockey with sticks that come to the base of their neck, which causes them to hunch over a lot when they are skating with the puck. This puts your head in a target area for shoulder-to-head body contact, which is risky in today's concussion-filled game.

Until Next time,