Summer time for athletes of most sports not named baseball it is the offseason. Back in the day, especially for NHL'ers, the summer time was work time, literally. Before players were routinely making six and seven-figure salaries they used the summer to make some extra cash. Players had to work all kinds of odd summer jobs just to tide them over before the NHL season resumed in the fall. Very few players worked out in the modern sense or even skated during that time. They were carpenters, working at golf courses and they were not just there to garner celebrity attention. They were working like most us average everyday people out there. Oh how things have changed. Even for high school athletes, summer is spent being a part of calculated strength and conditioning programs. These same high school athletes skate and play hockey year-round. They are going to camps were they are refining their skills in intense drills. Now, is any of this absolutely required? For the most part its not, it is simply expected. Whether you're a professional or a high school athlete coaches most likely will not tell their players they have to be at a camp. Yet, the players know the coaches will demand that they be training in the offseason.
Are any of these players ready to play in the NHL or should they stick to preparing NHL-like meals?
Its all about what is said and what's not being said. Its not always subtle in the way that is communicated. It could be plastered all over the wall in the form of flyers as in the case of a high school athlete or perhaps its a statement made by a coach or general manager made to the media like Todd Richards tossed out a few years ago. Most of the time the players are savvy enough to get the message and do what is expected. Yet, every now and then a player will either ignore those messages and show up to the opening of training camp out of shape (cough Guillaume Latendresse cough). In the Wild's most recent development camp which wrapped up last weekend the team made sure certain messages were being disseminated to the fans. But what were the Wild saying without actually saying so as well as what should they have said?
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