Stu Cowan: Habs legend Scotty Bowman was never a fan of morning skates

in Here is your first Forum Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:38 am
by Marc • 5 Posts

Morning skates on game days are a longtime tradition in the NHL https://www.penguinsfansteamstore.com/Carl_Hagelin_Jersey-7, but who first started them?There a belief in hockey circles that the first coach to introduce the morning skate was either Fred Shero with the Philadelphia Flyers or Scotty Bowman with the Canadiens.Bowman says it wasnt him or Shero.The first person that ever started the morning skates was around 1960 or 61 and it was Rudy Pilous, Bowman said over the phone Thursday afternoon from his home in Sarasota, Fla. He was the coach of the Blackhawks when they won the Cup in 61. All the teams used to have their meetings at 11 oclock on the day of a game, but they never went on the ice.Bowman said Pilous changed that and it was only so his players could test their skates.I remember the Blackhawks players going on the ice and they just wore their skates with their pants and shirt hellip; they didnt even put a sweater on, recalled Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history with nine Stanley Cups. Mikita and those guys would just make a couple of little turns to see if the skates were OK. It not like today hellip; if the skates werent right back then, they had to put them in a machine hellip; now it all automated. The Hawks were on the ice not long, five minutes maybe to skate around and make sure their skates were ready for the game at night.Bowman said he isnt sure which NHL coach was the first to turn morning skates into practices, but added he never really liked doing that.I didnt like to practise in the morning hellip; I thought it was just a waste of time https://www.penguinsfansteamstore.com/Ju...hultz_Jersey-13, really, the 84-year-old said. I remember teams would come into the Forum and they would practise for like half an hour, 45 minutes, an hour the morning of a game hellip; I couldnt believe it. And then that night they didnt have much left.Bowman is now a senior adviser for hockey operations with the Blackhawks and attends all the Tampa Bay Lightning home games to provide opposition scouting reports. His son Stannamed after the Stanley Cupis the Blackhawks senior vice-president and general manager.Canadiens coach Claude Julien has joined a growing list of NHL coaches who are phasing out the morning skate. The Canadiens did not have a morning skate Thursday before facing the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre and Julien has cancelled the morning skate before four of the last five games. After practice Wednesday, Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw said hed be thrilled if there were never morning skates Brian Dumoulin Jersey.Rest is key, Shaw said. You play 82 games, youre on the ice practising hellip; it tiring on the body and the mind. Giving us those morning skates off just gets us a little bit more energy and a little bit more rest come game time.Bowman recalled that during the 1976-77 seasonwhen the Canadiens posted an incredible 60-8-12 record and won the Stanley Cuphe hardly ever held a morning skate and if he did it was usually on the road, just to get the players out of bed. The Canadiens had seven players on Team Canada for the 1976 Canada Cup held before that NHL season started and Bowman figured those players could use the extra rest on game days. The Canadiens kept winning, so Bowman stuck with no morning skates.When Bowman was coaching the Detroit Red Wingsand winning three more Stanley Cups after one with the Pittsburgh Penguinshe changed team meetings from 11 a.m. on game days until 530 p.m. so his players could get more rest.The NHL has changed a lot since Bowman glory days with the Canadiens during the 1970s when he won five Stanley Cups. Back then, the average shift for a forward would last between 90 seconds and two minutes and some top defencemen would stay on the ice for up to four minutes at a time. A shift in today NHL averages about 40 seconds.Bowman remembers the Canadiens doingVO2max testing on players to measure their aerobic fitness during the 1970s and some of them would score in the 30s or 40s, although he noted that Bob Gainey and Guy Lafleur would always be in the high 60s or low 70s. When Russian teams first started coming to North America with the 1972 Summit Series https://www.penguinsfansteamstore.com/Ri...eahan_Jersey-37, Bowman said their players were all in the 70s because they trained 11 months of the yearjust like today NHLers.After Wednesday practice, the Canadiens Max Pacioretty said Youre not going to get in game condition the morning of a game.The captain added Were all professional. We know what we have to do to make ourselves feel good when the puck drops, so Im a big fan of the no morning skate.Dont be surprised if the Canadiens dont have many more of them.

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