Former conditioning coach speaks about Souray and Oilers' fitness

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Kings blog Mayors Manor has a very interesting and revealing
interview
with private strength and conditioning coach Chad Moreau
today, that sheds some light on some issues that the Oilers and other
NHL teams have dealt with regarding the fitness of NHL players

Chad is the older brother of Ethan Moreau and before entering the
private sector, was the strength and conditioning coach for four
seasons, starting in 2005 when he was hired to re-work the conditioning
program for the players. \

n the lengthy and extremely interesting interview, Moreau says that
it was Chris Pronger that helped him find a perfect balance for
conditioning during the season:

So, having Pronger almost demand that he gets time in the room to
train and work on his fitness benefited the whole team because the coach
would say ‘Look, if we’re going to give Pronger the day off the ice,
why dont we do the same thing for some of our veteran players?’ So,
sometimes I’d have 9 or 10 guys in the weight room. The only thing they
would do that day was train in the room.

He goes on to say that after Pronger left and the team became younger
— and started to lose — the team started to focus more on taking the
ice during the season instead of getting work done in the weight room.
Moreau says that because players spend less and less time working out
during the season, especially Western conference teams with brutal
schedules, that teams are losing strength as the season progresses.

Moreau also addresses criticisms by Pat Quinn on his time time as
conditioning coach, supposedly pointing the finger at the former coach
for the team’s struggles this past season.

First off, let me say that I’ve never met Pat Quinn or
had a chance to speak with him about this. However, to criticize the
strength and conditioning coaches I think is unfair. The coach needs to
share some of the blame in that becuase a team that isn’t fit by the
end of the year…the coaching staff has the ultimate control over how
much time a player spends in the weight room. So, I somewhat look at
that with a grain of salt.

In the interview, he also addresses Souray’s claim that he was forced
to return from shoulder surgery too soon, how players can approach the
off-season workout program and how lost man-games does not necessarily
translate to on ice success or failure — it’s the overall conditioning
of the team that counts.

Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

Here’s the goal:

Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:

Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

Related:

Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.