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Are the fastest NHL skaters really all that fast?

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Old
11-20-2012, 10:20 AM
  #1
Yellowstone
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Are the fastest NHL skaters really all that fast?

So, I put together this short video to support my sense that many kids have NHL skating speed. I know that sounds crazy. But I think that, for some reason, skating NHL-fast can be accomplished by a lot of kids and some very young ones at that. I'm sure that many of you have been to rinks and seen these young kids fly. Well, this past September, I thought it might be time to test a kid on the exact same speed skating course used by the fastest NHLers at the 2012 Skills Competition.

The Results... the kid did very well and this kid hadn't been on the ice in 6 months.

How can this be? I suspect that skating is not like running where the fastest NFLers would absolutely blow away young kids. For some reason, I believe that skating with NHL-speed is not all that difficult. This does not of course mean that these kids are (or ever will be) NHL prospects. For example, it might just mean that some of these kids should look into short track skating.

So here's the video... and if you doubt me (as you should) and if you're a coach, then simply go to the rink with your fastest skaters and do these time trials and then judge for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXgRiM5SL7k

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11-20-2012, 10:58 AM
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Gavy
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Well the ice the 14 year old kid was on is smaller.
There is no way a kid with such bad skating technique (no offense) is anywhere close to the NHL's fastest skaters

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11-20-2012, 11:05 AM
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The rink did look smaller, and the NHL players were clearly skating a lot faster.

Also, go out and play some outdoor hockey with even Junior B guys. Then you'll see how much faster they are. I play at a rink where University players sometimes show up, and it's borderline dangerous how much faster and more agile they are than everyone else. Not to mention the speed at which they do everything. And these guys are several levels away from the NHL.

Long story short, that kid is not as fast as NHL players.

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11-20-2012, 11:10 AM
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The rink didn't look smaller to me, but it did look like Hagelin was going much faster than him...

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Old
11-20-2012, 11:12 AM
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TieClark
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The rink wouldn't be any smaller... NA rinks are NA sized. There isn't any difference. What you have to realize is that in those skating competitions pretty much any NHL player is going to be within a second to a second and a half of each other because of how small the course is.

Most players that have played for a long time (not even talking NHL guys) can fly at top speed... the difference with NHL guys is the explosiveness and of course the fact that they can go that fast with the puck.

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11-20-2012, 11:16 AM
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danyhabsfan
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This thread is awesome

Id like to skate with NHL players.

Im a pretty quick guy and a good player.

Id like to know what I look like on TV. Maybe Id say I look so slow (Mathieu Darche) or maybe I could skate with most NHL players.

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11-20-2012, 11:16 AM
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Rink didn't look anywhere near as long as the NHL rink... Blue line to goal line looked to be closer together than the NHL ice.

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11-20-2012, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TieClark View Post
The rink wouldn't be any smaller... NA rinks are NA sized. There isn't any difference. What you have to realize is that in those skating competitions pretty much any NHL player is going to be within a second to a second and a half of each other because of how small the course is.

Most players that have played for a long time (not even talking NHL guys) can fly at top speed... the difference with NHL guys is the explosiveness and of course the fact that they can go that fast with the puck.
Not true. A lot of minor hockey rinks are different sizes.

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11-20-2012, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TieClark View Post
The rink wouldn't be any smaller... NA rinks are NA sized. There isn't any difference. What you have to realize is that in those skating competitions pretty much any NHL player is going to be within a second to a second and a half of each other because of how small the course is.

Most players that have played for a long time (not even talking NHL guys) can fly at top speed... the difference with NHL guys is the explosiveness and of course the fact that they can go that fast with the puck.
You are funny.

All ice surfaces are not created equal some the rinks I played in as a kid were half the size of an NHL ice surface.

Hell teams in the WHL didn't even always have the same rink size as recently as last year.

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/201...ORTS/710309902

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11-20-2012, 11:22 AM
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Being on the ice with a current or former NHL player is a humbling experience. I played against a then 60ish year old Jim McKenny and other NHL alumni when I was on a hotshot AAA bantam team and we got absolutely destroyed.

Yes they are that fast, and they are better than you think they are.

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11-20-2012, 11:22 AM
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Yellowstone
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This was absolutely a standard size NA rink with all the correct dimensions (New England Sports Center Rink 1... their feature rink).

I fully understand this disbelief... that's why I suggest simply run this test yourself.

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11-20-2012, 11:23 AM
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just have to look at trevor daley when he was in the ohl, he would skate end to end, get the puck stripped from him behind the other teams net and them make a break out pass before daley was even past the goal line and he would be the defensemen back in position to break up the play going the other way.

now he just looks average at best skating wise in the nhl.

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11-20-2012, 11:24 AM
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Luuuongo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valic View Post
You are funny.

All ice surfaces are not created equal some the rinks I played in as a kid were half the size of an NHL ice surface.

Hell teams in the WHL didn't even always have the same rink size as recently as last year.

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/201...ORTS/710309902
The Beleville Bulls play on an international ice surface, I believe.

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11-20-2012, 11:26 AM
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Doesn't look like the same speed to me. The least you could have done is to actually measure the time, without it the comparison is pretty much worthless.

Beyond that, the speed that is actually valuable is not pure skating speed, it's skating while playing hockey. Sure, you can find a lot of guys who might be faster than even most NHL-players, there are quite a few guys in other pro-leagues or even in lower level (kids certainly not among them, unless they are going to be alltime greats in skating), but let them try some nifty moves while skating or keeping track of what is going on around them and they aren't even close. NHL-players aren't in the NHL because they are the best skaters, they are in the NHL because they offer the best blend of all the skills needed to be a great hockey-player.

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11-20-2012, 11:30 AM
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I've played against players like Brad Stuart and Dion Phaneuf. Not exactly known as speedsters. Both were amazingly fact compared to your average major junior player. Quickness more than anything, really.

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11-20-2012, 11:32 AM
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sanityplease
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I've seen a lot of really fast kids, straight line fast. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few who compare to NHLer's.

Problem is that an NHLer can be 100lbs heavier than the kids & have more skill/power @ speed. In a game situation it's what you'd expect, men vs. boys.

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11-20-2012, 11:34 AM
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InfinityIggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanityplease View Post
I've seen a lot of really fast kids, straight line fast. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few who compare to NHLer's.

Problem is that an NHLer can be 100lbs heavier than the kids & have more skill/power @ speed. In a game situation it's what you'd expect, men vs. boys.
This, skating speed is on a pretty sharp incline if you were to graph it. Once you have your stride figured and if you have good legs and a motor you can be fast, in a straight line. The difference is with good players (NHL'ers) they can skate like that doing anything on the ice.

And just to be clear im talking about top-end speed, not acceleration or agility.

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11-20-2012, 11:45 AM
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Blues88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellowstone View Post
How can this be? I suspect that skating is not like running where the fastest NFLers would absolutely blow away young kids. For some reason, I believe that skating with NHL-speed is not all that difficult. This does not of course mean that these kids are (or ever will be) NHL prospects. For example, it might just mean that some of these kids should look into short track skating.
Firstly, you didn't list any times or your method of measurement. Its clear that the camera angles between the skills comp video and yours are vastly different, and coupled with the fact that the kid was nowhere in sight of Hagelin on the split screen after the first turn (imo), I'm gonna say you're reaching in your conclusions.

That's not to say there aren't fast kids either in acceleration or top end speed, but the optics don't make this kid look like he's in the same stratosphere. You put him on the blue line and have him skate to the red line, he may be fast in comparison to his peers (negligible)....he may even be as quick as some pros (though I highly doubt it) but the minute he has to shift his weight onto an edge, turn, and explode, he's done. Look at his turns...you can see the lack of strength and skating technique there.

That said, he's a young kid. No reason to claim something that 99 times out of 100 is probably not the case and put pressure on him. You see it starting in midget major when there are u15's flying around. There are a precious few who can keep up in speed with u18's but the acceleration usually isn't there. After all, these kids are still growing and they're light.

Lastly, the viewing angle is a big tell for me. The further away from the rink, the slower it looks. If you were standing on the glass at the skills comp you'd either develop vertigo or just throw up. They are that fast.

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11-20-2012, 11:49 AM
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Being a sports writer, I see a lot of local hockey and sometimes kids tourneys. And I have yet to see a 14 year old that skates as swiftly as the fastest players in Sweden's division 2 (fourth highest league level).

Imo, that rink also looks smaller when comparing the distance between bluelines and cones. If you look at the split screen comparison, Greening is clearly ahead of the kid across the farther blue line, yet they reach the cones at about the same time.

And like someone mentioned, in straight line speed most NHL'ers would be within the second. In a game, it's completely different. Or if the drill looked like this one:



I remember seeing Kariya in Stockholm. During the warmup he did a drill, skating on just one leg and he was flying.


Last edited by Elvs: 11-20-2012 at 12:10 PM.
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11-20-2012, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TieClark View Post
The rink wouldn't be any smaller... NA rinks are NA sized. There isn't any difference.

Yeah sure, and all 'pints' of beer are 20 oz. Come on, there isn't a regulatory board that forces rink compliance across the country.

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11-20-2012, 12:05 PM
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I used to play rec-league hockey with a former professional player. Ok, he wasn't NHL player but still a former pro. We were quite closely matched when just skating straight ahead. But the difference was quite a massive one in agility, acceleration, controlling puck at full speed and making sensible plays while going at full tilt.

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11-20-2012, 12:10 PM
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Yellowstone
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A lot of doubters here

Only a few of you think that this might be a legitimate finding. One suggested that most NHLer's are within a half second of each other in this test and that's my point. Where's the guy that crushes every one else? I think in straight line skating (with but 2 turns) the playing field is leveled... including for the kids.

The camera angle is irrelovant... the important factors are the common starting point, the same turning points, the same distances and the same finish point. That's how the test was done.

The video was presented in real time so it's a simple matter to do the side by side comparison and that's what is important.

Lastly, IF you were to accept that the test was valid (I can't prove that, I just know it to be the case), then can you not accept that there are kids that can straight line skate with NHLers. These kids ARE NOT future stars period. They're just capable of similar speed in a very narrow skill set... straight line skating.

Someone made the great point that the NHLer can maintain the highest of speed doing the most acrobatic of manuevers... and that's why they are NHL quality skaters, not because they can simply skate fast in one direction (as can many kids). Maybe the NHL skating skills test should be modified to better demonstrate how remarkable the NHL skater truly is.

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11-20-2012, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TieClark View Post
The rink wouldn't be any smaller... NA rinks are NA sized. There isn't any difference. What you have to realize is that in those skating competitions pretty much any NHL player is going to be within a second to a second and a half of each other because of how small the course is.

Most players that have played for a long time (not even talking NHL guys) can fly at top speed... the difference with NHL guys is the explosiveness and of course the fact that they can go that fast with the puck.
this is not true. Most minor hockey rinks in Canada are smaller than rinks that house Junior/Professional teams

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11-20-2012, 12:20 PM
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Harry Waters
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Yeah, Hagelin was a little, but clearly, ahead on the first turn, but almost didn't make any ground to the next - I'd say the rink is smaller. It's obvious who is going faster.

Of course speed isn't everything at NHL-level, but an average skating kid has nowhere the speed that one of the fastest NHLers has. It's not that difficult to figure out.

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11-20-2012, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TieClark View Post
The rink wouldn't be any smaller... NA rinks are NA sized. There isn't any difference.
You couldn't be more wrong.

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