As if they need any more incentive


I am officially tired after watching the Rangers pushed through the most grueling practice of the Tom Renney Era. It wasn’t more than an hour and change, but the last 25 minutes were punishing sprints, begging the question:


Was that the practice of a team that just got skunked 4-0 in its own building, or the practice of a team that doesn’t play for two more days?

“I think it was a 4-0 skate,” Chris Drury said.

“We got to stay on top of our fitness level,” Renney said.

“I don’t ask questions. I just skate,” Brendan Shanahan cracked. “I just did the work that was presented to me.”

And there was plenty of it. Seated in his locker stall, Ryan Hollweg agreed it was the hardest practice he’s had in his three years in New York, and he’s not even done for the day: the left wing will be part of a group of players set to participate in a skate with fans this afternoon at Bryant Park in Manhattan.

That might not be a lot of heavy lifting for players used to the grind of the NHL. After today, though, I’d only want a drink and a seat on the couch.


Meanwhile, as promised, you can find “my story about players’ game day routines here”: (some of you may have seen a shorter version online today, but that has since been corrected). Also included is “a photo gallery courtesy of the the great Ricky Flores”: and even “this short video”:


Here’s hoping you like it. Since I am at my very core a complete hockey geek, I find a lot of the stuff interesting about what players do to get ready for games, and of course, am now convinced I need to employ the same tactics to get ready for my own games. Do you think the Rangers would mind if I hop on for the occasional morning skate?


Finally, this post marks our complete transition to the new server, which should in turn provide some more stability here on the blog. Thanks to Jeff Marx at the office for his hard work on this. As frustrating as a lot of the blog’s hiccups have been for me, they’ve been even more confounding for the people charged with keeping it running smoothly, so I appreciate everyone’s patience.

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  1. Great stuff about the game day routines, Sam! It must’ve been fun hanging out all day. Too bad you couldn’t get the full Hollweg dance routine on video.

  2. Last night’s game was an embarassment so maybe the extra time running drills and working hard will remind them that is what hard work looks like. It was a joke how many times they turned over the puck with lazy plays and soft passes last night. I was embarassed to be a Rangers fan last night just days after I was extremely proud to be one. I turned that game off when it went to 3-0 and even missed the 4th Carolina goal. What a joke!

  3. Punishing sprints? Good for them. I’d do the same tomorrow morning as well. They were miserable yesterday.

  4. Sam, the article today about the game-day routines was informative and a lot of fun. I love getting a little peek into their world. Keep up the great work, as always.

  5. Great article Sam.

    re: the sprints… I hope they feel like doing that kinda work in games from now on… at least then it pays off… I mean beside being good for you in a health sense lol.

    Last night’s game was the worst I’ve seen in a while. Come out strong on Thurs. against the Leafs!!!

    Go Rangers!!!!

  6. Mara must not know about the Mercury in tuna when ingested regularly could become harmful and it would be real cool to be riding the 1, 2, 3 train only to bump into Shanny. Great article Sammy.

    Spiderpig, you are correct what a dumb ass Berger is up in Toroto just trying to sell papers. Newman said it correctly when the story first broke. Any way to sell a paper true or flase.

  7. If I was Renney I would have kept them on until someone threw up. Stanley Cup contenders don’t look that pitiful. Something needs to light a fire under their a$$. I’ve often wondered what it would be like if they would allow a fan into the dressing room to scream at them. They all preach how much we mean to them.

    Sam that article was extraordinary. I really enjoyed it and the fact Drury asked Hollweg for the dance is just priceless. As usual your work is exemplary. Thanks as always.

    Thanks to google as well, without it I would not have found this blog many moons ago.

  8. Great stuff Sam. I was recently able to buy Betts’ helmet from last year (the one that went with the 3rd jersey). Do you think you can ask him how many helmets he goes through in a year? Just curious to know if it may be one he only used for a few games or if it was used all year by him.


  9. Wow Sam, an article like yours truly inspires me to be a journalist!!! Work like that is the reason why I’m a co-sports writer for my high school paper!

    Again, beautiful article Sam!!! Keep up the good work!! =D

  10. Does anyone notice that all the sideways jokes that Jagr makes allude to his feeling of the world against him?

    He’d be a good topic for a psychologist.

  11. No mention of Malik’s pre-game routine. Maybe someone should wake him up from his nap before the game starts; or at least at some point during the game.

  12. Sam, was there any talk about what the heck Jagr was doing on the 3rd goal last night? In his post game comments he mentioned he didn’t see the puck, but in the highlights it’s pretty clear that he looked down and saw it.

    Not that it mattered, but it looked like a Washington Capital Jagr-like play, which concerns me…

  13. Hey Sam,

    Really great article on the game day routines! Really interesting, you learn somethig every day about the blueshirts. I never knew that Renney lived in Ossining, the town next to me. Maybe I will run into the coach at the grocery store and tell him my opinion of! By the way, you should totally post the Hollweg YouTube dancing video – its awesome!


  14. Doodie Machetto on

    MikeA, I too did not know about the bike. Seems counterintuitive to me. I can understand some sort of “cool down”, but I would think that them riding the bike would be more strenuous than that.

    Sam, it was a great story, probably the best one of yours that I’ve ever read. Great way to christen the new server with some follow up material with it.

    That game last night was terrible. They were outhustled and outworked the entire game. I mean, just listless, heartless play (with the exception of Drury, who I think had a decent game). Sprints today were a given, but it’s too bad Renney didn’t go Herb Brooks on them and keep them out on the ice to run a few Herbies.

  15. The players probably ride the bikes with a small amount of resistance, the point being to increase heart rate and therefore bloodflow to the muscles. That combined with a high intake of fluids will flush the lactic acid from the muscles.
    After todays workout though, I’m not sure riding the bike is gonna flush that amount of lactic acid from the muscles.
    That workout will still be felt tomorrow! LOL

  16. Renney doesn’t seem like an Ossning guy to me. That place looks like something out of Popeye; like the Robin Williams/Shelley Duval version.

  17. Sam – the whole pre-game eating strategy seems weird to me.
    When i run a half or full marathon i am filling up on carbs th night before the race (12-14 hours before start) – then topping up a few hours before (ie porridge or other cereal banana etc..). I appreciate its a different sport, hockey is played in shorter bursts more like interval training, whereas i need to maintain a steady speed over 2 or 4 hours.

    But shouldn’t the guys be convening a few hours before for a small carb-based pre-game meal to stabilise the blood-sugar with some protein to help muscle repair?

    Sorry if i sound like a nerd but its something i looked into a lot when i started running.

  18. Sam – outstanding work on that ‘gameday’ piece. Once again, you have the greatest job in the world. Not that Struds’ obsession with A-1, or Mara’s tuna ritual is Pulitzer worhty, but nice work none the less.

    Espo used to eat McDonalds with a coffee and wash it down with a cigarette. And carved out a pretty decent HOF career though.

  19. longtimerangersfan on

    Beer Me said…”Espo used to eat McDonalds with a coffee and wash it down with a cigarette. And carved out a pretty decent HOF career though.”

    As you recall, Espo didn’t skate very fast or very far either. lol.

    Does Renney get “work release” from Sing Sing to coach? I used to live in Ossining when I first got married about a hundred years ago.

  20. Just an observation here – –

    Isn’t it amazing how little there is to talk about when you team is in first place?

  21. Doodie Machetto on

    Beer Me!, I think the issue is more the game against Carolina. If they put up another game like that, then there will be plenty to talk about, even if they are in first place, because we know they won’t be there long if that’s how they’re gonna play.

    On the other hand, there is nothing else going on because it’s a couple of off days in a row.

  22. Sam,
    A very facinating piece you’ve crafted. Quite enjoyable but has opened up a lot of; does Betts change his laces every game, and how does he keep them flat..mine are all twisted up..and do they all use the waxed laces….I could keep going but I’ll spare you!
    Thanks again!

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