Are the fastest NHL skaters really all that fast?
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11-20-2012, 12:46 PM
After 5 years...
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New York
That kid is not a good skater and that comparison is extremely flawed (how do you know the cones are the exact right distance apart, lengthwise or widthwise? Also the whole "NA size rink is NA size rink" is only partially true; there is plenty of small variance in rinks that are not used by NHL teams. 99% of rinks are, yes, roughly the same dimensions, but trust me when I tell you they are not all truly the same. Some are wider or narrower, some are shorter.) but you're still not terribly off in your hypothesis. That kid's a very novice skater though and, make absolutely no mistake, Hagelin or Greening would both skate circles around him while laughing and exerting little effort. The level of edge work and the ease and control is on an entirely different plain. Not to mention they simply are faster.
However, as a much better example. When I was about 14 (perhaps even younger, this was 12ish years ago) I played for the LI Gulls and myself as well as a few teammates (including Tim Kunes who was eventually drafted by Carolina, but never signed) got to do a skills competition with several Islanders during the intermission. Three of us skated in the fastest skater event against three Islanders. This was the one event where we were all extremely close to the Islanders who skated and myself and Kunes both were faster than 2/3 of the Islanders who skated. This was a single timed lap around Nassau Coliseum. Now, none of the Islanders we skated against were exactly speed demons (I think it was Martinek, Hunter and Isbister, or something like that... not exactly Grabner or Hagelin), but they were NHL skaters and we were using identical metrics to time the laps.
So it is true that if you have very good skating technique and edge work speed is something that you can have at a very early point in your development. It's the muscle endurance to do it shift in and out, every night and the explosiveness to constantly stop and start against the best in the world, as well as stand up to the grinding in the corners without becoming fatigued that has to be added to your young legs in order to be able skate that way at the highest levels. Also, as you continue to add weight and muscle to your frame, from that point as a 14 year old, your challenge is to add size and strength without losing speed, agility and flexibility. Being fast at 5'7 130lbs is a lot easier than being fast at 6'2 230lbs. For me personally, skating is the only thing I'm good at when it comes to hockey, but I know that my skating is very strong and I have little doubt that I could skate with the middle speed guys of the league pretty easily. But that's all I could do. My friend Tim didn't make it to the NHL, but like I said, having been drafted by the Hurricanes, he clearly could have skated with NHLers as well (and did so while he was at Boston College) but just didn't have the whole package to make the last jump. I do believe, however, that skating were among his strengths on his HF scouting report.
Last edited by Ollie Queen: 11-20-2012 at
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