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11-05-2003, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by lowetide
I liked Horcoff from the start, liked him as a rookie. He displayed some very good skills early on, along with a tendency to make frightful passes and weakness on the puck.

This season, he looks a step slow, and things haven't been going his way, but I'm still a fan.

Just wanted to say this, since the anti-Horcoff sentiment is so high.
A pretty accurate summation to which I'd like to add a point or two if I may. Horcoff arrived in training camp carrying some extra muscle weight in order I believe to improve his strength and be harder to knock off of the puck - the past weakness you mentioned. When bulking-up physically first occurs, there usually is an immediately power and strength gain but often a lose of flexibility occurs. The makeup of short-twitch, medium-twitch, and long-twitch muscle fiber disbursement throughout the body is changed. This is one of the reasons athletes train year round.

When muscle bulk is first added to ones body, a time of adjustment for the body to re-balance the skeletomuscular interplay is needed. Athletes are more prone to injury and I will note Sean had a hip-flexor injury. Now that virtually all NHL athletes arrive at training camps in shape, the camps are primarily used to assess talent, to fine tune the Athlete's skill set, and to create team chemistry. This effectively moves athletes from being in shape to being in game shape, supposedly with team readiness. To the power and strength must be added fexibility, quickness, speed, agility, balance, and lastly endurance. Team play is fostered by and benefits from athletes performing physically and mentally at peak performance. This produces an elite level of play.

The net effect body wise is an increased need for medium and long-twitch muscle fibres. Then a peak performance training effect is achieved. The bodies of these athletes replace some of the existing short-twitch fibres with the other two types of muscle fibers. Horcoff being unable to achieve game shape because of his hip flexor injury is still a half step slow and his balance, agility, and reflexes are still not completely in sync.

As the regular season proceeds all NHLers will plateau physically as their bodies individually realize peak performance. Shortly thereafter, Horcoff will peak physically too. Notice Dvorak took a little longer to hit high gear as did Yorkie. Both these players had reduced training camp involvement because of injury and for legitimate personal reasons. Isbister went south because of injury and had a poor start. So I fully expect to see Horcoff hitting his stride soon in his heavier more muscular frame. Shortly thereafter, barring re-injury, I predict Sean will start twitching pucks into the silk even more effectively than he did in last year's playoff. But hey, lowtide, I'm just an overly optimistic kinda' guy.

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