DOC: The Ground Work – NHL Players Summer Training [Eng Sub]

DOC: The Ground Work – NHL Players Summer Training [Eng Sub]


Welcome to follow the NHL players summer camp, where the ground work for those moments of magic we can all witness during the season is made. To guide you through, we have Patrik Laine, Mikko Rantanen, Rasmus Ristolainen and many others. At first we head to a place, where about a year ago Patrik Laine was just another prospect among others. In here Laine played Mestis, the second tier of ice hockey in Finland and barely made it into the playing roster… Let’s find out, what do they think of Laine’s rocketing rise to the top of the world? Yeah, well It has truly been rocket-like, but how I personally see it, is that only at the age of 15 he scored – if I remember correctly – 26 goals in the U20 Finnish league. Then the next year he came here to grow up, learn how to be an adult and already then progressed remarkably in his overall play, and especially now, the last season in Tappara, he was just magnificent, just magnificent. But I do have an understanding on this issue, that Patrik went through a massive amount of physical work during last summer and that is when the big step physically was made especially in skating strenght. Indeed, for summer 2015 Laine went to train with a group led by legendary fitness coach Hannu Rautala. After signing a rookie-contract to NHL, this summer Laine can be found with the same training group. Therefore we too are headed for Turku. We see a lot of familiar faces, but Patrik Laine was nowhere to be seen. We are swiftly informed he has only recently arrived back from Winnipeg, and will be joining the training group any moment. The maestro himself, Hannu Rautala, is present at the gym, with his 40 years of experience in ice hockey fitness coaching. Let’s start by asking, how he thinks the ice hockey players’ physical training has changed during his coaching years? As a matter of fact, not that much back then there were also those who really wanted to train hard and those guys were very motivated and in great shape. The detailed practices and drills have changed a bit as time goes by, but not that remarkably at all. Of course It would be easy to say, that we’re getting better all the time, but that’s not exactly true. Are you often contacted directly by the NHL organisations then? Buffalo’s fitness coach visited this year, but not so much. But I’ve gotten and brought back the training material from different organisations. They’ve collected all the material and different drills from everywhere in the internet, you can start doing those and it’ll only take some 20-30 years to go through them all… Of course the reason why Buffalo’s coach paid a visit to Turku, is this man. Let’s ask Rasse Ristolainen, what it is that makes Hannu Rautala such an excellent trainer? First of all his knowhow is world class and after spending a couple of summers with him, getting to know each other he sees when I’m not having the best of days or weeks so he can modify and vary the training during the day and kind of make adjustments, depending on the mood and feeling at the time. Then of course it helps there’s the group so you can compete with each other, with great competitive spirit. I don’t know, it feels that Hannu’s presence and the atmosphere he brings here is such that it enables me to get the best out of myself. Rasmus is, well… Very talented player when it comes to training. He just can’t get enough, for example, if he makes a personal record in something, he’ll just say it’s just not good enough yet. Not good enough, not good enough. For Ristolainen and many others, the next season starts exceptionally early. Inadvertently, the thoughts start veering towards the World Cup in September. Well, it’s a really great and substantial tournament,being my first national tournament in senior level and it could’t really start any better, with all the best players in the world, and in Toronto, a city totally crazy about hockey, so it will most definitely be a great tournament. Now we’ll let the Sabres defender have his well deserved July holiday week. We, in turn, take a couple of days to see in detail, how does the everyday life of a hockey player look during the summer time. Morning, come on in! What does the summer training period mean to you? It means quite a lot of course, it’s the time when there’s no games so you can train quite hard as well, with no need to preserve energy for the games or plan everything in regards of games. That’s quite a big thing for all hockey players, of course and that’s when you progress the most and
can concentrate on different practices outside the rink. Of course some players like to be on ice for summer as well, but I haven’t been on ice all summer and go only in August, which has worked well for me. You had quite a long season, with the IIHF World Championship tournament running long into the spring, so how long a break did you have before summer training period? I took two, two and half weeks, when I did absolutely nothing, not even going for a run or anything. That sort of break is the best for me, always a bit more than two weeks without training. Of course it depends on the age and the player how they like it, some can do it even shorter, while some can do, or need, longer resting period. But well, about three weeks, on the third week I start easy at the gym, waking up the body after not doing anything for two weeks. But the break feels good after the season, since there’s really no time for rest during the season with so many games, so it’s a good to have a short small break there. How does Hannu Rautala’s summer training differ, in a positive way, from the others? Well…maybe he is, at least, really experienced guy so that he’s seen 30-40 years of the players and the stuff they do and he was the physical coach during the golden years of TPS, so from that you can see his stuff works and of course there’s been
plenty of great players coming through like now there’s for example Ristolainen and Korpikoski among other top players in the group. So, I don’t know, but probably one of the major things that’s often forgotten, especially in the team training is that the quality
should replace quantity, which is quite a big thing forgotten by some teams as it feels that they are training for too long period of time and then the players
are too tired to do anything else for the day. It is always the quality that matters, not the length of the session. How much are you training during the summer, the amount of training sessions? Yeah, so… we do four times a week with two sessions a day, and one quickness training, which is just once a day. But otherwise…
and there’s of course one practice on the weekend so it’s about 10-11 sessions per week altogether. I think that’s sufficient amount and the thing is, it’s always
with full power with full capacity all the time, which helps. Do you still have a holiday of sorts before heading back to States, and when are you heading back? Yeah, the end of July I’ll go to Lapland, Northern Finland for a week with a couple of friends and older guys, friends of my father, we go fishing up north-west, almost all the way to Norway. It’s a one week trip, so a little bit of maintenance and short holiday for summer,
before coming back to training. And yeah, I’m heading to US probably at the end of August, it’s not certain yet when the training camp begins, but I think I’ll go in the end of August, a couple of weeks before the start of camp to get there, get rid of jetlag and take care of other things, to be prepared to work 100% when the camp starts. Alright, change of clothes, grab my gear and to the gym to press some weights It’s the upper body workout today at M&M and it’s a nice session, not too long but tires your upper-body out and gives you a good feel to have trained hard again. No special expectations, very basic gym session, every Tuesday the same time and place, so at least you know what to do. Mikko Rantanen is an incredible talent, especially considering that last summer he couldn’t really train at all, jumping back and forth in the USA. He’s shockingly gifted physically, and probably otherwise as well… I don’t really know the mental side but, well… can’t be fine since he is playing ice hockey! How does it feel today? Now it’s a bit better than in the morning, the bench press was a bit… should go to sleep earlier in the evening to be able to really push it early in the morning, but it feels a bit better now. Well now the gym session is done, about one and half hour for the whole upper-body workout. Mid-section I didn’t work now, I’ll save it for the afternoon. Got some leftover energy and now we’re going for lunch… There’s this nice restaurant called Paviljonki, with good lunch to fill the energy reserves to be ready for another workout. The difference between NHL and AHL is probably, the level of players of course and the playing style is different, which felt crazy in NHL, but well, the players are so much smarter in the NHL, so it feels like… that it is, at least feels like there’s a bit more time there, in the NHL since they’re not just charging around so much, but of course there’s never a lot of time. In the AHL the defenders come at you much more,
and it feels like there’s no time to do anything at all. But well, maybe the biggest difference is the overall level of play, it’s so different there and they don’t make as many errors in NHL either. How does the everyday life differ in NHL compared to AHL? Of course the everyday life is different, like all the facilities in the NHL are much better than in the AHL. Flying by private planes and so on, when in AHL it’s flying coach, like normal people so probably that’s one big difference But otherwise I think it doesn’t differ that much, some details and that but otherwise it’s mostly the travel Also maybe the quality of hotels and so on, but you know, otherwise it’s not that different. Well, fans are different since there’s not that many in AHL, but yeah, travel is probably the biggest difference. How do you practice during the season in North-America? Are you able to do drills like the one you just did this morning, for example? Well, the upper-body you can train a bit more during the season, because it’s the legs that are the most important when there’s more than 80 games in a season you can’t really train the legs at the gym that much, because the games are the priority. There’s a habit there that’s different than we have in Finland, that after the game there’s a training session, team practice because you can have a game, one off day and a game again, so they kinda leave the day off, for resting. So that training session will be after the game, so in a way it’s already done, to have the off-day… On the same night, after the game? Yeah, the same evening, right after the game Almost always we had a practice right after the game. Was it in both, the NHL and AHL? Yeah, both the same, yes. Alright then, lunch is finished and steaks devoured, so now I got to head for the store to get a bite to eat for after floorball session in the evening. To cook something, don’t yet know what, but let’s see if we figure out a great dinner for after the floorball. I do pay quite a lot attention to my diet, it’s quite important after all. Training, resting and diet, all have to be in order to progress as much as possible and so on, so I always try to look what I eat and when, to get the best out of your training and to maximize the progress. Here we’re going to go for cottage cheese, which provides loads of protein, for after the floorball and I usually drink high protein milk, doesn’t matter if its light or non-fat there was no non-fat this time so I had to take light, but it doesn’t matter. The decision is made for the dinner, we are going to make what at least in Turku is called “pääkallo” (skull)… which is minced meat and macaroni. Let’s take a couple of boxes to survive and then we can have the same for lunch tomorrow. Little bit of extra is good for that. I usually cook very simple stuff, I’m such a bad chef, so its better to keep it quite easy. Usually it’s just chicken strips or minced meat I try to cook, can’t really do anything more complex. Sometimes I have to go back home to Nousiainen for the food, my mom knows how to cook a bit better so there you can eat a bit something else if and when the chicken and minced meat starts to pour out of your ears, I can go home to eat something else. So we have the dinner for the day, or actually evening, bought now I’ll head home for a short nap to regain some energy, to train again in the afternoon and then eat our great dinner after. So I’ve had my short nap and a small afternoon snack, some porridge and banana. Now we’re headed to Leaf arena for balance and skating session, which I’ll do for an hour before going to play floorball. Then we play with the same group which I train with, floorball for about an hour. We always have good games, we’ll see who’ll win today, the juniors or the grandpas. So to speak… We play for one hour actively, all the training doesn’t need to be boring, it’s very efficient with fast heart-rate and skill level, maybe you’ll learn a bit something in a game environment as well. And well, they all just damn right love it. For example, Ville Vahalahti measured his new maximum heart rate there last time. Don’t know if that tells a story, maybe he is just out of shape, but that’s what happened anyway. For a second I feel like a winner here, then comes Ruis Rock and… Joining the game for the evening was a character, recuperated from his jet-lag, whose introduction is best accomplished by his last season’s resumé, rolling on the screen. Team Grandpas managed to equalize in the final seconds of the game. A sudden death decider followed, in which… well, everyone knows what happened then. Allright, scoring the game winner, how high do you rate this goal in your career achievements? It does go really high, after all it’s the first win for the juniors over these older guys. It’s an important victory and we’ll certainly always remember this We’ll meet Mr. Laine again tomorrow morning, but for now, we’ll continue our journey riding Mikko Rantanen’s shotgun. Alright, the full day’s work is now done, two training sessions and a floorball game, which we won so that was great, now to home to fuel up and eat. There’s some European Championship
football on the TV in the evening and another day of training tomorrow, so nothing special for the night. Okay, the morning was quite alright, I woke up at half past eight and training starts at ten and now we’re heading to Paavo Nurmi stadium. There’s a quickness practice today, to get faster on ice gain some pace to our stride. It’s short but efficient and it’s the only session today, so it’s nice to get it out of the way first thing in the morning. So on Wednesdays we have a bit more time to do something else for the rest of the day, which is nice of course. But I hope we get a good training session first. How does it feel today Mikko? Feels like flying! Very good. So Patrik, how did the first practice back in Finland feel like? Felt alright, a bit unsettled maybe but it was good stuff What’s your opinion of the coach Rautala? Mr. Rautala… Well… I think the results speak for themselves in the practice. It’s great to be part of this group and he’s extremely knowledgeable gentleman, so why not. So, Patrik Laine. In spring 2015, he was barely selected in the roster of Mestis team and now, in summer 2016, he is hands down one of the hottest names in the hockey world. It is time to ask the star himself, how did he become such a good player in such a short time? Hmmm…I don’t know, a great spot opened up here for the summer, to train in this group and well, I came here and worked hard for 5-6 weeks and… That was probably the biggest thing, and then and then when the games started, I got the opportunity to take a spot in the team and used that opportunity quite well, I think, and from there it just went well. Already during the season, Laine thanked Hannu Rautala of his success. The question is, what changed Laine’s training methods in the summer of 2015, when he came to train in Turku. Well the training here, all the stuff that we do, is a bit different from the team training that I’m used to do or from practicing by myself during the summer. This is a bit like, we don’t spend that much time per day, don’t work long hours but when we work, we always work with full capacity, at the gym or on the running track or whatever it is. You’ll have time to socialise and chat after the practice, but when it’s time to work, we work. Then of course also there’s food, my diet has changed on the way, actually quite a lot of chicken, different smoothies and… and…. hmmm nothing ready made, no TV-dinners which I’ve used to eat if in a hurry, so that’s changed. So, it’s all in all pretty much the basic diet for the athletes, paid maybe a little bit more attention to amounts and that, so we’ve changed that also. We did a lot of sprint running drills and strength training relevant to sprint. It’s my guiding principle and paradigm anyway, to take the drills, ideas and practices from sprint and decathlon in athletics. Well, Patrik Laine is still physically very raw, but it feels like he is gifted in motor skills, he catches on fast to everything he does of course he has been a bit careful at first, after having a small knee operation, but as they say, only sky is the limit. Also for Laine, the abilities gained from these training sessions, will be put to test first hand with the Finnish national team. What does Laine think about the World Cup? Well, extremely positive, I’ve never taken part in anything like that, which of course everyone knows already, that I haven’t… but now I was selected, which is a great honor and recognition of a good season I had and that the coaches and others believe I’m useful part of the team and can help the team. It’s a great thing, playing against the best in the world with the best Finnish players. So that’s very cool. Alright, we’re done with the training session, felt good, surprisingly good feeling. I should at least be a bit faster now, we pulled some sledges in Paavo Nurmi stadium. It’s always a good one, I like that training a lot. It brings the explosiveness I’m trying to increase every summer, it’s always good for you. Next I’m gonna head for lunch, and then I was thinking of going to hit some golf balls down at the range, to get some touch so we can go play next week maybe… And maybe in the evening a little bit of tennis, with friends, to get a feel for that as well, its quite fun to play after all and I like it, just like badminton. So now we are at the golf club restaurant, and I got this nice burger for lunch. Shouldn’t eat thsi sort of stuff too often, but sometimes it’s allright to luxuriate a bit, since it’s summer and there are no games, so you can eat heavier once in a while. Tank up now and let’s hope the ball will fly after. How long have you played golf? I started at the end of last summer, played a couple of rounds and now this summer a bit more. So I haven’t exactly mastered it yet, but moving in the right direction and it’s a nice game, and I like it especially when it’s going well. Which is rarely, but when it goes well it’s fun to play. Alright so we’re done with the golf, the ball flew surprisingly well at the range. Now I’ll go home and take a nap, to be able to play tennis in the evening which is a nice way to finish off the day. But now I feel so exhausted I’ll have to go to sleep for a bit. The nap is now done and there’s been a small change of plan, since the weather looks a bit uncertain for tennis, we’ll go play badminton instead with Monni Virtanen and Pate Laine. Let’s see what happens. Badminton is extremely good additional training for hockey, because it affects the same muscle groups you use in skating, back muscles and gluteus, with acceleration and fast changes of direction and all that. Badminton is good. Tennis is more like…good as well of course, but in a different way since the ball doesn’t live for that long. Serve into the net with as much power as possible, then a “Mickey Mouse” serve for the second, which is then returned full speed to the stands… Pate, who’ll win the tournament? I’m going to pick me to win, but we’ll see Hockey players self-made hour long badminton tournament finished in a tie, with each player winning same amount of games. Luckily we did have a solution to break the tie. We paraded in Finland’s number one badminton player, Eetu Heino. Allright guys, let’s see how the shuttle cocks. The name of the game is one set against me, and the winner is the player who wins most points. …okay, allright, yeah… Any guesses who’ll win? The most points? Jonne. Jonne. I do, yeah I will. With pity and compassion he gives me a couple… What’s the score? Twelve… nil. No chance whatsoever Yeah, no No chance in the world, have to try some other sport Absolutely no dice Well you have nothing to lose anymore Jonne Virtanen exits as the winner, but as we already witnessed in the U20 World Championship tournament, this duo will not go down without a fight. What’s going on now? 2 against one Patrik, you should go to the other side now that he’s serving from this side! Oh yeah, right… Alright now the badminton is done, and it was a good game until Eetu showed up and the skill difference was so obvious, we definitely got our asses kicked, I’d say. But well, that was two days of my summer workout, which will continue tomorrow with the same routine… Thanks and bye! We’ve seen many different kinds of training routines, but in the beginning of August we return to capture on camera possibly the most classical of them all. According to stories, running the stairs was implemented to hockey players’ summer practice by Hannu Rautala, of course. Perhaps through a bit unconventional route, though. It dates back to some 40 years, when I was teaching at school in Aurajoki and everytime a boy left their skates at home, he had to run the stairs for 10 times and when he was steaming there in his winter parka, I thought that this might be a good set… Before the stairs, the group makes six sprints of 300 meters with one minute rest in between. On top of that, players run six times up the stairs, with the target time of under 10 seconds.

21 thoughts on “DOC: The Ground Work – NHL Players Summer Training [Eng Sub]

  1. Very interesting document. Rantanen is a beast and ofc Laine scored the overtime winner. Thank you very much for putting this video here.

  2. It's not how fast you get to the show but it's the journey of getting there. Guys like Laine and Crosby were freaks at 15 years old but it's the players that had growth spurts at the age of 17 and 18 years that impress me. The guys that were overlooked because they were too small or lacked skills at that age the likes of Johnny Gaudreau and Alex Burrows that impress me. The fact they never gave up on there dreams.

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