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05-12-2007, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SJGoalie32 View Post
This is kinda something I've always wondered about too though. How much of those guys abilities are innate/work vs. experience/opportunity?

I'm sure those guys weren't playing their hearts out, and haven't been on top of their game for awhile. But while I've obviously never seen you play, I'd like to believe that if you played with those guys more than once or twice in pickup....say on a team, in games and practices with them, for 6 months of the year.....maybe you could eventually hang with them. After awhile you'd start to adapt to the level of play, and improve your own performance.

Personally, I found a dramatic improvement in my play when I went from twice-a-week rec league hockey to 5 days a week of hockey plus weight training on our college's club roller hockey team. On the occasions we got to play pickup against a couple of the school's NCAA DI players, we were able to stick with them for a bit.

I mean, sure they outplayed us and all without even really trying, but they also spent all week getting several hours of top-flight training, coaching, and practice against some of the best college hockey talent available. I spent all week in class, doing homework, group projects, and working. If I had the luxury of spending an extra 20 hours/week just doing hockey and getting my body in shape.....I don't know how much better I COULD have been, but I bet I'd have been better.

Same with the professionals now. I have no misconceptions about their superior ability. But JS Giguere also has spent the past 8 months playing for and against some of the best hockey talent in the world, with some of the best coaching and physical training assistance in the world. I'd like to see him take a month off from hockey, sit for 10 hours in a cubicle today behind a computer screen entering A/P data, and THEN head over to Joe Louis Arena tonight.....only to find out that they already have two goalies for the game tonight, but he can alternate sides every 10 minutes if he'd like.

I'd like to see Chris Pronger play half of a double-OT playoff game in Game 2 on Sunday night, and then be alert and back behind his desk for another full day at 7:30am on Monday morning.

Again, not trying to discount how good these guys are, but we have to be realistic....they spend a solid 9 months a year on skates, with sticks, playing with pucks. I'd probably be a better goalie if I got to face 200 pucks a day, every day, in practice. Of course, I'd also be unemployed......and broke.....and homeless.....
Well that's the thing, these guys have been playing their whole lives. Been coached since they were kids. Some by some of the best coaches in the world. They played in pee wee, high school leagues, juniors/college, minor leagues, etc.

They got to practice so many days a week. Their lives were hockey. If you are an NHL player, you spend so much time on the rink. Not like the rest of us who do this as a hobby. Odds are, many of these guys never had a part-time job because their full time job their whole lives was hockey.

I mean sure, once you're good, it's tough to lose a lot of that skill. However, the more you play the better you get. I know a lot of it is natural ability, but a large chunk has to do with playing and playing and playing. Then the truly gifted players even play above the abilities of someone their age when they are young. So they get better and better. That's what it takes to be a Pro.

Not many players will pick up hockey in high school and make it to the NHL, this is not football.

I think even the slightest example is take any beer league player who never played hockey as a kid or in high school.
They maybe played pond hockey as a kid, maybe some ice/roller hockey with friends screwing around. The first time they play, they're gonna be terrible. Probably will be for the first few seasons. However, after a while they become more comfortable, the more they play they start becoming better. After a couple of years or maybe less they can probably move out of their division and into a higher one.

These are just people who play once a week in beer leagues and maybe the occasional open hockey session.

Imagine someone who's been doing this for years and has a coach who shows them how to do everything properly from a young age. Someone who has had practice after practice, game after game, for years and years from a young age when it's easiest to learn new skills. Who goes out on their free time to skate around and shoot because they want to be better.

Last edited by WhipNash27: 05-12-2007 at 03:52 PM.
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