Monday, December 31, 2012

What's ahead for Scoring Concepts in 2013...

2012 was a great year for Scoring Concepts.  The move from New Jersey to New Hampshire wasn't an easy one, as I said some goodbyes to great people in the Garden State, but New Hampshire gave us a great reception and we are poised for a Banner year in 2013.

Some Highlights from 2012...

* Became the Assistant Coach with the Laconia Leafs Jr Hockey Program.
* Named the Head Hockey Coach at Kingswood High School in Wolfeboro, NH.  Last season's record was 3-12-1, and so far through New Years Day we are 2-3-0-1.
* 6 Freshman who learned to skate with Scoring Concepts clinics played Varsity Hockey at Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield, NJ.
* The "Long Weekend Workout" clinic on May 24th at the Community Center in Woodbridge, NJ had over 30 kids in attendance!
* Over 100 Private Training Sessions in the Calendar year of 2012!  Special thanks to hockey parents such as the House's, the Mohan's, the Demer's, the Tulloch's, the Sack's, and the Buckley's to name a few.
* Declan House (Mercer Chiefs Pee Wee AAA) winning the MVP of the Bell Cup Semifinals in Ottawa.
* August 21st "Pre-Season POWER Workshop" & the 11/12/12 " "Explosive Speed Clinic" at Plymouth State University Arena each had over 30 kids in attendance!
* Billy Andrew making the NJ Rockets AAA.
* 27 scheduled goalie and powerskating sessions with the Henniker Youth Hockey Association... Go Huskies!
* IJHL semi-finalist with the Trenton Habs Jr Hockey Team, and helping to move along Chris Watkins, Cody Newcombe, Sean Kacerosky, Russell Armbruster, Andrew Fosina, and Joe Cangelosi to higher levels of Hockey.
* 2- Day Winter Focus Camp at Laconia Ice Arena!

Earmarked for 2013 are...

* Scoring Concepts Elite Spring Training Team (birth years 98-95).  5 Weeks of On/ Off Ice Training at Plymouth State University, culminating in the Coca- Cola Showcase Tournament in Marlborough, MA.
* More Camps... More Clinics... More Training.
* State Tournament for Kingswood Regional High School.

The construction of the Scoring Concepts Training Center!

Center will feature:
1) A 30 foot long synthetic ice sheet
2) Full Gym, including both free weights and machines
3) Outside plexiglass shooting gallery

Center will host:
* Private & Small Group Training Sessions
* Weeklong morning summer camps
* Small Group Clinics
* Holiday Clinics
* Team Training

The Motto?  "We training like Rocky, not like Drago"

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Article on Personalized Coaching...

Article Reprinted courtesy of-

What is "Coaching?"

To paraphrase Albert Einstein, it takes a different kind of thinking to solve a problem than the kind of thinking which produced the problem. Simply, "coaching" is the process of helping people develop their capacity to think about things (such as problems, people, relationships, customers, products, services, the future) in new and creative ways so that they can accomplish what they really want to accomplish.

Coaching has an enormously important role in the building and sustaining of great organizations and extraordinary workplaces. People who want to accomplish great things often get stuck along the way. Coaching helps people get un-stuck. An example of this is that while many leaders, executives, and managers in organizations seem to "know" intuitively what they need to do to move forward, few of them actually follow through because they're stuck in some way. Coaching helps people focus on the things that are contributing to their being stuck, and then move beyond them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Wendel Clark Video

Most of the team's I have served as Head Coach for have watched "the Wendel Clark Video".  I've used this 4 minute video in a variety of ways, but mainly to demonstrate 4 things...

1) Be a Competitor-  You want to be the team that is tough to play against.  Finish your checks, work hard all the time, make simple plays, and pay the price.

2) Size Doesn't Matter in Hockey-  Mr. Clark was 5'10ish and at best 190lbs., and he took on, with success, players of all sizes and skill levels.

3) Be Well Rounded-  Mr. Clark scored over 300 goals in the National Hockey League, and yet still stood up for his teammates against anyone.  He was a 2- Way player in every sense of the phrase.

4) Play with Passion-  Don't take shifts off.  Be engaged.

 "Game in, game out, year in, year out, just a kid cruising the ice looking to cause trouble - a wicked wristshot for a goal, a crushing bodycheck, a fight - opponents' bodies littered on the ice, fans out of their seats, the place in an uproar, and Wendel, no expression on his face, looking around wondering what the commotion was about."--Ken Dryden- Quote taken from Wendel Clark's Retirement Press Conference.

Here is the Video...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Setting Goals

I asked my High School team to give the Coaching Staff 2 goals this season-
1) 2 Hockey Goals
2) 2 Academic Goals

Some of the answers have been very interesting...

According to LiveStrong,
A goal is a specific plan of action geared toward obtaining a desired result. Clear, concise goals precede all professional and personal measures of success. In beginning any particular journey, one must know of the direction in which he is heading. People with goals move forward with directed focus, while maintaining the capacity to adjust to unexpected challenges. Doing this, they perform in a way that inspires a sense of balance, purpose and overall well-being in themselves and others.

Read more:

I've always expressed to my athletes to indentify QUANTIFIABLE GOALS.

Thesaurus Legend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Adj. 1. quantifiable - capable of being quantified
quantitative - expressible as a quantity or relating to or susceptible of measurement; "export wheat without quantitative limitations"; "quantitative analysis determines the amounts and proportions of the chemical constituents of a substance or mixture"
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Winter Camp Itinerary

Camp Itinerary for 2012 Winter "Focus" Camp

Thursday 12/27 & Friday 12/28/2012 at Laconia Ice Arena, Laconia, NH 03246

Thursday 12/27/2012
8:30am Check In
9am - 10:30am On- Ice Power & Transitional Skating Training
10:55- 11:30am Video Skating Analysis
11:35- 11:55am Hockey Card Trivia
12pm Check Out

Friday 12/28/2012
8:30am Check In
9am- 10:30am On- Ice Puck Skills Training
10:55- 11:20am Off- Ice Stickhandling Session
11:25- 11:55am  Wrap Up Pizza Party
12pm Check Out

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mental Techniques for Overcoming Obstacles

Not every season is going to start off with immediate success.  Winning is difficult to do, but some seasons it can seem even more so.

Winning and success starts with the mind.  Overcoming struggle and adversity requires a mental approach with principles that you can apply in everyday life.  Here are some starting points...


Positive Thinking

  • If you believe that you will fail or think self-defeating thoughts, you are less likely to be successful. Thinking positive thoughts improves mood and increases motivation, making you more likely to reach your goals. If you want to overcome an obstacle, whether it is completing a difficult project at work or winning a football game, telling yourself that you can do it increases your chances of success because thinking becomes solution-focused rather than problem-focused. When a situation is so challenging it is difficult to think positively, remind yourself of times you overcame obstacles in the past. Turn worry into a positive by transforming anxious thoughts into positive or solution-focused thoughts.



  • Picture yourself succeeding. Whatever the challenge is, visualize yourself overcoming that challenge. The more you practice visualization, the more real and more possible the image becomes. Explore weaknesses. Visualize these weaknesses disappearing and strengths taking their place. For example, if fear of failure is a weakness, visualize yourself feeling confident and strong. Picture yourself succeeding at whatever is challenging you. If this is difficult, visualize someone you admire who has these strengths and try to imagine yourself as this person.

Taken from- Read more: Mental Toughness Techniques |

Team building activities are important during winning and losing seasons, and can transform even the most selfish collection of athletes into a more cohesive unit.  Here are some examples of "Team Building" exercises-


This exercise emphasizes problem-solving via different methods of communication.

Teens work in pairs, with one person guiding the other in an attempt to make a simple
drawing. The pairs try to accomplish the goal in three different ways; twice with a limitation on how they communicate, and finally with as much back-and-forth conversation as necessary.


Teens write their strengths on small slips of paper, put them into balloons, and blow
up the balloons. One by one the balloons are popped to reveal what each person brings to the party. As the group learns about the unique talents each person has to offer, the information is transferred onto a large white banner so people can see all of their strengths together. The Party is a fun, low-risk icebreaker that helps set the tone for positive team dynamics. It's also a good activity to use if a group has been working together for some time and needs a refresher on what people can contribute and how the group can work well together. The simplicity of this activity allows it to be used with a wide range of ages, from older to younger teens, and it's fun for teen mentors to use when working with
younger groups.


Assemble the group in a circle and have each person write 5 specific (the same ideas for everyone) traits about themselves on a note card.  Do not write your name on the note card.  Mix up the cards and pass them out again.  Have each person read off the traits on the notecard then guess who the traits describe.  It's simple, easy and with 5 fun traits can make for a unique way for the team to find out details about one another.

* Provide Life Stories and Real- Life Examples
Use video's to make an impact on your team, by providing real- life examples and real- world people who have overcome similar obstacles.

Good examples of stories-

1) Gregory Gadsen and the NY Giants
2) Story of the 2004 Boston Red Sox
3) Story of Abraham Lincoln
4) January 3, 1993 "The Comeback"  Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Oilers

* A personal favorite of mine is the story of Terry Fox... Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Best Post Game Meal Ideas

Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres (and 2010 Team USA) hockey goalie
"I try to hydrate and have a recovery shake that get some calories back into my body immediately following a game. Lately [my post-game meal] has been a sushi appetizer and chicken with some rice or potatoes at a friend's restaurant."

1) Whole Grain Cereal: You may have heard that you should eat carbs before a workout, which is true, but you should also consume them after as well. Carbohydrates can help your body fight the fatigue that it feels after a workout by restoring your glycogen stores. When you exercise, you are using up all of your glycogen stores (or energy stores.) It's really important to replenish them after a workout so that you do not experience that sleepy feeling. Any carbohydrate snack will do but whole grains are always the best choice.

2) Cherries: Cherries are kind of like a magical fruit. They have many anti-inflammatory properties, which are really important for relieving muscle soreness. The antioxidant that gives cherries this healing ability is called anthocyanins. Many athletes consume tart cherry juice prior to workouts for this reason. Instead of popping that ibuprofen or Advil, reach for some nice, fresh cherries or cherry juice instead.
3) Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts -- whatever kind of nuts you want. All kinds of nuts are very high in Vitamin E. This vitamin has muscle strengthening powers which will ultimately help to fight muscle soreness. Once you begin to get stronger, you will notice that you are not as sore as you were when you first began training. When you have been training for a while, your muscles are stronger and you don’t tear the muscle as much as you did in the beginning. Less tears equals less soreness. Vitamin E also helps repair the damage that was done to the muscle tissue. Eat foods high in Vitamin E, like nuts, to help build that muscle strength…and keep training.
4) Berries: Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all contain antioxidants called polyphenols. These antioxidants are what protect your cells against damage. Aside from their ability to reduce muscle pain, they also help protect against all the other damages that can be done to our cells that can cause cancer. Generally, the darker the berry, the more antioxidants it contains so try to eat dark berries such as blackberries and blueberries. They are a healthy and delicious snack. You can even throw them into your protein shake for an added bonus.

5) Salmon: Fish in general is loaded with protein and a ton of essential fatty acids. Fatty acids help to reduce inflammation which in turn fights muscle soreness. Not a fan of fish? Take a fish oil supplement.
6) Eggs: Particularly egg yolks. Ignore the cholesterol factor. Eggs are high in protein and Vitamin D. Both of these two things help fight muscle soreness and aid in muscle growth. Vitamin D has become one of the biggest deficiencies in the American diet. It is really important to consume foods high in this vitamin, especially to help reduce muscle pain. Many people tend to get rid of the yolk of the egg because of the added cholesterol and calories but those calories in the yolk are all really good calories. They provide vitamin D and protein. Eat the whole egg. If you do have high cholesterol, try to limit yourself to a couple whole eggs a week and consume Vitamin D fortified low fat milk.
Overview: All of these foods are high in many nutrients and vitamins that your body needs on a daily basis in order to sustain life. They all have the ability to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation so it's important to include them in your diet. Now, they aren't really "super" foods. If you have sore muscles and eat some eggs, you aren't going to automatically feel better but they will aid in the healing process. Aside from getting the right nutrients, it's important to allow yourself some rest. Taking one to two days a week off heavy training will be very beneficial for body. If you are an exercise freak and need to get to the gym, take it easy. Do some light cardio or lift lighter. You really only experience soreness when you push yourself to your limits.

Some excerpts taken from-


1) Water
2) Chocolate Milk...
Sports nutritionists are touting chocolate milk as the ultimate post-workout beverage.
When it comes to refueling after a long game or tough workout, low-fat chocolate milk has an ideal amount of nutrients: 26 grams of carbohydrates and eight grams of protein. The carb-to-protein ratio of 3.25:1 is perfect for replenishing energy (glycogen) and providing muscles with the amino acids they need to rebuild and grow.

Apolo Ohno: Olympic speed-skater
"I have many post-race meals but one of them is Coconut Chicken Curry with Washington fingerling potatoes. It's the perfect match for a long day of training or racing where I need to fuel my body with the right proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables to boot. I make it in a slow cooker.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Thanks to a great start in New Hampshire!

Thanks to all the clinic attendees, private and small group training students and the parents who make it possible... the response and attendance for all Scoring Concepts sessions has been outstanding so far and I look forward to growing and expanding!

8 Clinics are booked for the 2012-2013 season, all focusing on specific skills.
Fall/ Winter Clinic/ Camp Dates-

 August 21- "Pre-Season Power Workshop" at Plymouth State University 6:15-7:45pm
* 90 Minutes of pre-season training with an emphasis on powerskating and puck possession in an uptempo and fast-paced atmosphere.

 Monday, October 8, 2012- "Columbus Day Sniper Skills Workshop" 9-10:30am at Laconia Ice Arena
* Learn deep details of goal scoring.  90 minutes of offensive zone tactics that will give players a better understanding of shot selection/ shot placement, 1 on 1 sniper moves and angles.  Guaranteed to elevate your Hockey IQ!

 Saturday, October 13, 2012-  "Forward/ Defenseman Skills Workshop" 9:00am – 10:30am at New England College Henniker, NH
* Position specific training.  Combined with uptempo skill instruction, forwards will gain a better understanding of zone entry and puck protection.  Defenseman will drill into angles, footwork , and partner skills.

 Monday, November 12, 2012- "Explosive Speed Clinic" 12-2pm at Plymouth State University
* 2 Hours of quick starts, jumps, and off balance training that will give players a greater understanding of stride power and efficiency.  All the drill work applied in a competitive atmosphere!

 Dec. 27-28, 2012 9-Noon "Winter Recess Focus Camp" at Laconia Ice Arena (separate registration brochure coming soon...)

 Monday, January, 21, 2013 9-10:30am "MLK Day Forward/ Defenseman Skills Clinic" at Laconia Ice Arena
 * Position specific training.  Combined with uptempo skill instruction, forwards will gain a better understanding of zone entry and puck protection.  Defenseman will drill into angles, footwork , and partner skills.

 Monday, February 18, 2013 12-2pm "Speed, Edge Control and Out of Comfort Zone Training" at New England College Henniker, NH
* 2 Hours off edge work and out of comfort zone training.  1- legged power work.  Maximize your stride and protect the puck in all situations and at all speeds!

Private and Small Group Training has been booking up at the Laconia Ice Arena and recieved great feedback!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Traits of Good Forecheckers

Establishing a good forecheck and becoming a good forechecker, can dramatically improve your teams win/loss record.

Traits of a Good Forechecker-
1) Players keep their feet active, and stop on destinations (checks or pucks).
2) Players understand their forechecking system and can read and reacte to their specific role within that system.
3) Players understand their place on the ice isn't necessarily where the puck is, but where the puck is going to be, and where they are on the ice in relation to the opposing players.
4) Players make themselves occupy more space than their size dictates by taking good angles to the play and keeping active sticks.
5) Players play on the defensive side of the puck, communicate and support their teams to create narrow windows and force turnovers.

Bleacher Report Ranked the 20 best forechecking forwards in the NHL-
20. Patrick Marleau
19. Shane Doan
18. Brendan Morrow
17. Rene Bourque
16. Jordan Staal
15. Dustin Brown
14. Ryan Malone
13. Curtis Glencross
12. Rick Nash
11. Chris Stewart
10. Corey Perry
9. Mike Richards
8. Henrik Sedin
7. Jonathan Toews
6. Henrik Zetterberg
5. Cal Clutterbuck
4. Alex Ovechkin
3. Milan Lucic
2. Pavel Datsyuk
1. Sidney Crosby

Personally, I'd have to throw in two NJ Devils as well- Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias and a former Devil Zach Parise

All these players are used in penalty kill situations, and have tremendous Hockey IQ's, and work ethics.

Keith Acton, one of the best forecheckers and most underrated penalty killers in the history of the NHL, has this great video-

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Training Program Recommended to a Friend

Todd-  Here are some ideas. The following exercises are what I think are the best/ most hockey specific weight training exercise you can do. The best way to do these would be to mix up 2 lower/ 2 Core/ 3 Upper body exercises each day and then the next day to the other 2 lower/ 2 core/ 3 upper. 4 Days a week would be best.


Sumo Squats - 3 x 10-12 reps
Hamstring Curls - 3 x 10-12 reps
Jump Squats- 3 x 10-12 reps (low weight to start)
Lunges - 3 x 10-12 reps


Bench Press - 3 x 10-12
Chin-Ups - 3 x 10-12
Close-Grip Bench Press - 3 x 10-12
Seated Row - 3 x 10-12
Hammer Curls - 3 x 10-12
Standing Flyes- 3 x 10-12 reps


Wood Choppers- 2 x 15 reps
Planks- 3 sets 30 second hold to start with increasing time
Sit ups & Leg lifts- 2 sets each to failure

* What you should be eating- (I highlighted the supplements you could buy online or at your local GNC, nothing is illegal).

Nutritional intake is dependent on their current status:

- If an athlete needs to lose weight they will require less calories than an athlete that is trying gain weight

- Increased caloric demand would provided by increased protein (~1-2g/kg of body weight) and carbohydrate (which would be consumed in and around their training)

- Eat every 2-3 hours

- Each meal must include lean protein

- Each meal should include vegetables

- 25-35% Calories from fat (unsaturated and saturated)

- eat mostly whole foods

- 90% rule….eat clean 90% of your meals, 10% can be anything

- Pre-workout nutrition (may include): Gatorade, whey protein, BCAAs, HMB, creatine, beta-alanine

Post-workout nutrition (may include);

Gatorade, whey protein, L-Glutamine, BCAAs, creatine, beta-alanine

* Cardio Training-

With 5 weeks till training camp, I think you should approach it this way-

* On-Ice skating is recreational and would be a bonus, you still need cardio work off ice

* Cardio 3 days a week on either off-Days from your strength training or on split workout days (cardio in morning/ gym at night)

1) Sprint/ Power/ Agility Training- Plyometric series combined with sprint intervals (5 sprints of 10 yards, 4 sprints of 20 yards, 2 sprints of 50 yards, 1 sprint of 100 yards)

2) Cardio/ Strength Training- Stairs or Hills

3) Long Distance/ Recovery Training- Long Bike Ride (5+ miles/ 35+ minutes)

Check out the blog on my website occassionally for other ideas.-

What we face may look insurmountable. But I learned something from all those years of training and competing. I learned something from all those sets and reps when I didn't think I could lift another ounce of weight. What I learned is that we are always stronger than we know.
Arnold Schwarzenegger


Good luck buddy on a GREAT YEAR!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

6 weeks left to go in the Off-Season... What should I be eating?

With only 6-7 weeks left to go in the Off-Season hockey players at all levels should be asking themselves a few questions...
1) It's not too late, so what can I do to get ready?
2) Am I strong enough, especially cardiovascularly to withstand a competitive Training Camp?
3) How will putting the right things in my body effect what my body produces?

"Nutritional intake is dependent on their current status:
- If an athlete needs to lose weight they will require less calories than an athlete that is trying gain weight
- Increased caloric demand would provided by increased protein (~1-2g/kg of body weight) and carbohydrate (which would be consumed in and around their training)
- Eat every 2-3 hours
- Each meal must include lean protein
- Each meal should include vegetables
- 25-35% Calories from fat (unsaturated and saturated)
- eat mostly whole foods
- 90% rule….eat clean 90% of your meals, 10% can be anything
- Pre-workout nutrition (may include): Gatorade, whey protein, BCAAs, HMB, creatine, beta-alanine
Post-workout nutrition (may include);
Gatorade, whey protein, L-Gluatime, BCAAs, creatine, beta-alanine"

For players wanting to compete on the highest level, try this 2-a-day approach:
Monday AM – Mobility, Linear movement skill and strength, total body power, conditioning
Monday PM – Warm-up, pre-hab, Strength/Power training, maintenance work, cool-down

 Players will train twice a day like this on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Wednesday and Saturday being recovery and regeneration days.

Keep your eyes focused on the long-term goal, and these short-term obstacles become easier to overcome...  "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."-- Mark Twain

Monday, July 16, 2012

Advantages of playing Street Hockey

I've heard the argument that "street hockey makes bad habits for ice hockey players".

I think this is hogwash.

Street Hockey will always do these things for you.-

  •  Learn how to work as a team, specifically making and receiving passes
  •  Examine where to best position your body against a defender
  •  See if you can get better at carrying the puck (or ball) with your head up, and quicken your hands.
  •  Improve your overall conditioning.
  •  Develop competitiveness and enhance your athleticism.
  •  FUN.

  • Think of it this way...
    * If you aren't playing street hockey, what are you doing, and how will the alternative improve your game. Playing xbox, going to the beach or the movies.... these activities are fun but have never been the training program of choice for pro athletes.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    6 USHL players selected in 1st Round of NHL Draft sets record

    A record 6 USHL (United States Hockey League) players were selected in the first round of the NHL entry draft this past week, showing a continued narrowing of the talent gap between the US and Canada. Here are a list of the players with bios and breakdowns-

    D Jacob Trouba USA U-18 USHL 6-2 196ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: One of the best athletes in the draft, he's a defenseman in the mold of Dion Phaneuf -- nasty in his own end with the ability to make things happen in the offensive zone. He's quick on his feet and makes the most of his size to intimidate opposing forwards. If there's a chance to make the big hit, he's happy to oblige. He's aggressive with the puck and has a big bomb from the point. There are some questions about his ability to read the game defensively, but if a team thinks they can address this, Trouba could mature into a top-two defender.

    C Zemgus Girgensons Dubuque USHL 6-2 198 Pick acquired from Calgary for picks No. 21 and 42. ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: "I could see him going [top 10]," a scout said. It's easy to see why after a season in which Girgensons was the most effective draft-eligible player in the USHL. There are questions about his offensive upside -- scouts I spoke with pegged his at 15-25 goals and 45-60 points -- but what Girgensons lacks in finishing polish, he makes up for with grit. He always wants the puck and he'll run you over if that's what it takes to get it. "He's a miserable S.O.B. to play against," the same scout offered. Said another, "Relentless, great intensity, loves to compete." Sounds like a Ryan Kesler starter kit.

    D Michael Matheson Dubuque USHL 6-1 178CENTRAL SCOUTING'S TAKE: Matheson represented Canada at the 2011 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and played for Team Quebec at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, where he finished with eight points (2-6--8) in six games. He captained Lac St. Louis Lions to a bronze medal at Canada?s National Midget Championship in 2011 and was named Top Defenseman after recording eight points (3-5--8) in seven games. In 2010-11, he was named to the LDHMAAAQ All-Star Team and in 2009-10 was named Rookie of the Year.

    D Jordan Schmaltz Green Bay USHL 6-2 180CENTRAL SCOUTING'S TAKE: "The type of player everybody wants on their team because he's a puck-moving offensive defenseman who can see opportunities, spring forward and make the great pass from any situation. He loves to join in the rush and has that skating ability to sort of take the risk of taking the puck deep, and be able to get back using his skating ability."

    D Brady Skjei USA U-18 USHL 6-2 196ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: Not everyone likes Skjei -- who is slated to play for the Minnesota Gophers next season -- to go in the first round, but someone might have fallen in love with his effortless skating and big frame enough to grab him early. He's not particularly physical, and his transition skills are average. If you feel like he can be taught to address these flaws, then Skjei might mature into a second-pairing defender. If not, he's going to frustrate a lot of folks for doing so little with so much.
    C Stefan Matteau USA U-18 USHL 6-1 215CENTRAL SCOUTING'S TAKE: Posted 32 points in second season with US National Development Program. Intends to join Blainville-Boibriand Armada of the QMHJL for 2012-13. Father is former New York Ranger Stephane Matteau, who played 13 seasons in the NHL.

    What does this all say about the state of USA Hockey?  Personally, I think this says a few things... 1) The USHL is rapidly becoming a league that attracts top worldwide talent. 2) Players are seeing the benefit of maintaining their college eligibility by playing in the USHL, rather than losing it and playing in the CHL, including players born in Europe and Canada. 3) Canada is still producing the greatest number of top flight draftees, but USA Hockey is producing just as much talent as the traditional hockey powerhouses in Europe, evidenced by the breakdown of nationalities of the 1st round selections...

    6 Americans
    2 Fins
    3 Russians
    2 Czechs
    2 Swedes
    1 Latvian
    14 Canadians

    So next time your coach or an uneducated hockey enthusiast raves about competing against a select team from Russian, Sweden or Canada remember that the opponent is probably fearing playing the American team just as much... and rightfully so!

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    How did Bryce Salvador score so much this postseason?

    Let's look at a brief comparison between NJ Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador's 2011-2012 regular season and his 2012 postseason...

    Bryce Salvador
    2011-2012 Regular Season GP 82 G 0 A 9 PTS 9 +/- +18
    2012 Postseason GP 24 G 4 A 10 PTS 14 +/- +9

    The numbers don't lie... but several questions emerge.  Did the Devils use him in a different role or in a different position?  Was he the benefactor of an improved collective offensive output for the entire team?  or... did his good habits produce more results in a tighter-checking environment?

    Let's use some numbers to make a point-
    * In the regular season the Devils averaged 2.63 goals a game.  In the postseason the number was 2.45 goals a game.
    * Tracked per player, the Devils were a combined -63 in the regular season... in the playoffs, the Devils were a +43.
    * Salvador was 15th in team scoring in the regular season, and 3rd in the postseason.
    * Salvador's Regular Season average was 1.29 Hits per game and 1.30 blocked shots per game.  In the postseason those numbers were: 2.25 Hits per game and 1.41 blocked shots per game.
    * Salvador has averaged .14 points per regular season game over his 11 year career (692games).  In the postseason he averages .24 points per game.

    So the question remains... how and why the offensive explosion?

    Perhaps these quotes will shed some light.  Devils captain Zach Parise, who scored New Jersey's first goal on Saturday, of Salvador. "We know when the game is on the line, we need to protect a lead, he's going to be out there for us. We all trust what he does, and that's important."  "Go figure, All season, now these bounces off shots go right in the net," said Salvador.

    Look at the some of the goals...

    In the end I think it comes down to two things 1) Great Habits & 2) Playoff Urgency.  Salvador's goals were scored by doing the basic principles every young defenseman should understand: quick and surehanded retrievals and walking the blueline to create a better angle, open up opportunities for screens and tip-ins.  Salvador's shot placement is impeccable... they all hit the end, and are 0- 18 inches off the ice.  By walking the blueline he is creating an angle where even if he does miss the net, the rebound is coming right back out to the slot or near the net, rather than rimming out of the zone.  When you combine these good habits with a playoff atmosphere, where teams are trying to block every shot and finish every check, the ability to keep it simple actually makes the routine somewhat unexpected as shots are more difficult to see and the play is moving quicker.  Lastly, and you can see this illustrated in his plus/ minus, Salvador's positive play demanded increased minutes and his coaches responded.  Good Habits= More Production= More Minutes.

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

    Scoring on Butterfly goaltenders

    No style is perfect.  Goaltender's come in all different shapes, sizes and skill sets.  The dominant style in today's training model is for kids to learn, understand and use some variation of the popular "butterfly style of goaltending.

    For those who don't know, here is a brief history-  "In ice hockey, "butterfly style" is a technique of goaltending distinguished by the goaltender guarding the lower part of the net by dropping to the knees to block attempts to score. The butterfly style derives its name from the resemblance of the spread goal pads and hands to a butterfly's wings. The butterfly style is contrasted with stand-up style, where most shots on a goal are stopped with the goaltender on his or her feet. Many factors helped make it a defacto standard style of play today, including the invention of the goalie mask by Jacques Plante, Vladislav Tretiak's outstanding use of the style at the 1972 Canada–USSR Summit Series, the National Hockey League (NHL) emergence of Tony Esposito in the 1970s and Patrick Roy in the 1980s, the development of lightweight materials for pads and the influence of professional goaltending coaches such as Warren Strelow, Benoit and Francois Allaire. There are few who exclusively employ a stand-up style in the NHL.[1]
    Although it is effective and popular among goaltenders, the butterfly style can leave the upper portion of the net more vulnerable to scoring attempts. The modern "profly" derivative was made most popular by Roy and is the style most commonly used and taught.[2]" Reprinted courtesy of

    Here are four ways shooters can be proactive in their approach to Butterfly goaltenders.
    1) Quick and unexpected release- Catch him off balance and before he can set up.  The faster the release the quicker he'll need to reacte, and the less time he'll have to prepare to control any rebound.
    2) Miscommunication- Get the goaltender to make his move first by utilizing a fake shot.  It's like playing poker, you'll know what you are dealing with. 
    3) Creating Rebounds It may take two shots to score, but aiming low and far pad will create a rebound for a teammate.
    4) Understand your angle- A left hand shot coming down the right way, or a right hand shot coming down the left side has an unbelievable angle shooting advantage.  A players vision is actually 1-3 feet to the left or right of their stick and several feet higher than were the actual puck is.  What you see is not what the puck sees.  Generally speaking, lower and closer to your body is better.

    * A 1996 NHL study revealed trends in goal scoring. A whopping 72% of NHL goals were scored from within 15 feet of the net, to the stick side, and between 0-18 inches off the ice.

    Here is a video of Brett Hull.  Brett Hull was a natural goal scorer with one of the quickest releases and hard shots in NHL history.  In addition to that, he read goaltenders amazingly well, and exploited their first move.  You can learn a lot by just watching...


    Monday, May 7, 2012

    Run Hills to Improve Speed and Confidence

    Hill running is a great way to build up power in your legs.  Utilizing bodyweight and gravity, hill running is one of the simplest ways to develop explosive power in all the muscles in your legs. When you improve the strength and power in your legs, you will skate faster by maximizing each stride.

    The goal of the hill run is to get up the hill as quickly and explosively as possible.   For hockey, you should pick out a hill that can be conquered in at the start 10-20 seconds.  Short bursts of speed most closely replicate the activity you will perform during a hockey game.  Gradually, you should aim to work your way up to 30-45 seconds by conquering longer and/or steeper inclines.  The 30-45 second hill will match that of a typical shift in a typical hockey game.  The longer the hill, the greater the cardiovascular training element. 

    To start, these hills should be sprinted up 10 times to start, with gradual increases in the amount of repetitions.  It is important to note that you should jog down at three quarters speed back to the starting position.  The jog return is an important part of resistance training.

    Hill training, is a very simple yet very effective exercise. Always try to push yourself past to your limit, as this is the only way to see results!  NFL great Jerry Rice built his off-season training around Hill running, and had amazing results.  Here is a video:

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Why a 3- Day "Focus" Camp?

    The 3-Day Camp is designed to be a unique training experience:

    * 3 On-Ice Sessions
    * 1 Off-Ice Skill Session
    * 1 Video Analysis Session
    The On-Ice drill work will be entirely skill focused and uptempo, using the model of previous Scoring Concepts clinics and private training. The Off-Ice Skill session will focus on specific drills that your youth hockey player can learn and take home with them (via a handout for each student) to practice their skill work in their driveway, rec room, or basement. The video analysis will feature footage shot from the previous 2 days of training and drill down into the technical aspects of powerskating, so that your player can learn, in a positive setting, the deep details of stride analysis.
    The goal for the 3- Day Focus Camp is for kids to get the maximum bang for their hockey camp buck.  For a very cost-efficient price kids can get the On-Ice instruction and repetition, using drills that will push them to go "out of their comfort zone", and combine them with 2 other elements that players and parents constantly overlook.

    1)  Off-Ice Hands work.  Your hands, puck control skills and stickhandling can get dramatically better when drill off the ice.  This is a fact.  It is the central reason why Joe Mullen scored over 500 NHL goals and played primarily roller and street hockey when he was a kid growing up in New York City.  The kids who attend this camp will learn the right way and what tools to enhance these skills, and get a handout/ chart to take home with them so they can continue to grow this skill.

    2.  Video Analysis.  Every kid loves to watch themselves play, but do they know what to look for?  This camp will record the first two days of training and analyze, using a positive approach, to dig deeper into the most efficient and powerful components of the skating stride.  Players will have a mental image of the right way to skate, and be able to take that with them... applying those principles to their own strides.

    Email for info.  Or visit 

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    3 Components of Player Evaluations

    When picking players for your team or organization there are a lot of different criteria used for evaluating your candidates.  I try to use a little different system, and compare it to the level I am evaluating for.

    3 Key Components go it in, and these 3 components are graded on a 1-5 or 1-10 scale.

    1) Skill Set- This is the most obvious.  Skill set is the basic set of hockey abilities an athlete possesses.  Skating, shooting, puck handling, passing and natural athleticism.

    2) Hockey IQ-  This can be the most difficult to identify if you are new to the game, but Hockey IQ is the ability for a player to utilize his intelligence to make the right play.  Positioning and the ability to read and react to his linemates and situations are important, but look closely at players during evaluations... Does the Forechecker take away the D to D pass?  Does he have good habits and not turn the puck over at his Offensive and Defensive bluelines?  Does he take good angles to force decisions?  Does he have an understanding of game situations, and know how much time is left on the clock?  If the answer is "yes" to all of these, then the player possesses a high Hockey IQ.

    3) Compete Level-  Compete level is the ability for a player to maximize, through effort, their athletic ability.  Players with high compete levels are consistent from the beginning of the evaluation to the end and in all facets of the game (offensive and defensive).  Will the player win loose puck battles....  backcheck hard goalline to goalline?

    All the categories can be related to the level of the team you are selecting for, as the comparison does not have to be against NHL talent.  If you select players who excel (8-10) in all these areas, you will have a team with talented, winning players who are fun to coach.

    A 10-type player in all of these Evaluation components is Mark Messier-

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    Mastering the Toe- Drag Shot

    Toe- Drags can be a flashy way for players to beat defensemen 1 on 1.  Yet, as players advance relying on the toe-drag can be a bad-habit waiting to happen.  Young players need to understand the purpose of a toe-drag and then use the different variables available to them to beat both defenders and the goaltender.

    Effect of the Toe- Drag
    Essentially the toe-drag is a manipulation of the puck by using your stick only (not your arms or body).  This manipulation creates different angles for which the puck can be shot from, and different directions from which the puck can be moved to.  In addition, upon set- up, the defender of a toe drag will jump the puck or attack the body, giving away a portion of the ice.  It is up to a good forward to know which way to  maneuver himself to exploit it.  Moreover, given that a defender will jump the puck, it creates less visibility for the puck to be tracked by the goaltender.

    Puck Tracking & Uses as a Screen Shot
    For best use of the toe- drag at higher levels, I try to train players to use the toe-drag shot as an additional arrow in their quiver.  By dragging the puck 2-4 inches towards your body it'll set up the perfect defender screen on the goaltender.  In addition, given that the puck is closer to your body, torque is maximized which if practiced can create a more powerful shot that is released in a split second of time.

    Work on this skill stationary at first off-ice.  Focus on the form, hand positioning, quick release and power... accuracy of the shot at first is not that important.
    After you have acquired the basic skills, use an obstacle placed over cones on-ice or a chair/ bench.  Begin to practice this skill skating into the zone and from 12-15' out from the net.  Remember to practice good habits, and crash the net for rebounds after releasing the shot.  Aim low at first for maximum power and to create a rebound.  Low will eventually be the best placement for this shot, as it will be the most difficult spot for the goalie to track.

    David Clarkson of the NJ Devils is one of the best in the business at this shot.  Watch him work, and have fun with this new skill!

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Sacrificing Yourself for the Team

    I referenced the story of Bob Baun of the Toronto Maple Leafs during of one my end of the year meetings with a player.  For those who don't know, this is the story of Bob Baun...

    It was 1964. In Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, Leaf defenseman Bob Baun fell to the ice in excruciating pain after blocking a slap shot off his ankle late in the third period.

    Baun was carried off on a stretcher and was presumed to be out for the remainder of the series. During the intermission, Baun refused to have his ankle X-rayed. Instead, he insisted it be frozen and, miraculously, he skated out for the overtime session.

    The Maple Leafs, facing a three games to two deficit at the time, were in need of a hero to keep their Stanley Cup dreams alive. At the 1:42 mark of overtime, Baun drilled a shot from the point that beat Detroit netminder Terry Sawchuk, giving the Leafs a Game 6 victory.

    Inspired by his heroics, the Leafs easily won Game 7, 4-0, giving the team a third consecutive Stanley Cup victory. It was not until after the series that it was discovered Bob Baun had scored that overtime winner on a fractured ankle.

    Reprinted via-

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Drills to do during "Free Time"

    Every coach or parent who runs a practice gives their kids 3-5 minutes before and, sometimes, at the end of practice "Free Time" where the athlete can warm up and get ready for the drills and instruction that will commence.  When used effectively over the course of an entire season these 3-5 minutes can become personal skill sessions where players acquire and develop tools that they normally don't work on in a practice.  3-5 minutes twice a week over the course of a season could add up to 60+ minutes of focus.  Try these drills-

    1.  Elevated/ Saucer partner passing-  Grab a teammate and spread 10 feet apart.  Practice forehand and backhand stationary, at first, saucer passing.  Rotate the puck heal to toe off the blade of the stick and aim to get a flat puck to drop on your partners stick.  As you get better, try this moving forward and backward.

    2.  Footwork Drills.  Try the Half & Half Drill detailed in this video...

    3.  Stationary Overspeed Stickhandling- Use other pucks to maneuver around, and puck yourself to develop rapid timing and stickhandling skills that are faster than you think you can stickhandle.  Remember to practice all around your body, and out of your comfort zone.

    4.  One-timers-  Grab a partner and a section of boards and work on passing back and forth setting up for one-timer shots.  Use good form and mechanics and aim for a place on the boards to target your shot towards.

    5.  Net chances-  Place a row of 5-7 pucks on an arch at the top of the crease and work on "roofing" them in one continuous motion. Remember to have good foot placement.

    6.  Powerskating maneuvers-  Try some of these for 2 minutes at the beginning of a practice, and by the end of a season your edge control, balance and power will be dramatically improved.

    7.  Edge control + Stickhandling drills- Try the flat stick puck control drill.-

    These are just a few ideas, but the important thing is to not WASTE this valuable ice time.  It's time you won't get back, and can dramatically improve your skill set.

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Importance of Coaching "Playing Without the Puck"

    We've discussed in previous posts the importance of practices over games, and the OMHA study that revealed that players generally only control the puck less than 1 minute over the course of a standard youth hockey game.  Moreover, we've discussed how many coaches and parents focus on correcting the mistakes players make when they do have the puck, and neglect the 98% of the game when they do not possess it.

    So how can we teach the art of "playing without the puck"?  how can we improve our youth players "Hockey IQ"?  Here are some suggestions...

    1. As a coach or parental observer, focus on re-creating plays in the mind of the youth athlete and express in detail what they could have done when their teammate had the puck.   The key to playing away from the puck is anticipation and having good hockey sense.  Did non-puck players find the open ice to support the puck carrier by putting themselves in a position to do one of two things: free up ice for the puck carrier to move, or make themselves an attractive target and give their teammate an outlet to pass the puck.  Especially at the youth level, you see a lot of kids spending too much time watching the play instead of moving to help create a play. Diagram or draw up in their mind a specific breakout, offensive zone entry play, or regroup when a linemate of theirs made an outstanding play, and explain to them how they could have helped it without ever touching the puck.

    2. Use a video and record your  son/daughter playing.  Watch it with your kids and focus on what they are doing when they are out of the play.  You don't have to be Bill Belichick and breakdown every piece of footage, but this can be a fun exercise and extremely helpful.

    3.  Watch hockey together either live or on TV, and have them watch a specific player for a specific shift. Express to them not to follow the puck with their eyes for the next 30-40 seconds while their favorite player, or the target of this exercise, is on the ice and instead follow that player and watch how he activates into his D-Zone coverage and into plays in the offensive zone.  Regroups and breakouts are great for demonstrating body positioning and communication.  Some of the best players to do this with are the players who may not be as overwhelmingly skilled, but are consistently productive.  Here are my suggestions-  Forwards- Patrick Elias (NJ Devils).  Defensemen- Nick Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings).

    4. Coaches-  In practice it is important to work on drills, even at the youth (squirt/ pee wee) level WITHOUT cones, and then demonstrate (Yes, you jumping into the drill and moving your feet) to the players what the support players should have done on a particular drill.  A lot of Neutral Zone regroup drills, offensive zone entry, or split D/ F drills are perfect for this, and kids will respond better to watching you do it, than you drawing it up on a dry erase board.  Cones are great as imaginary defensemen, but can develop bad habits when used as positional boundaries or lanes, as youth players won't understand why they are there.

    5. Footwork Drills.  Bad footwork, and poor skating fundamentals are the elephant in the room when it comes to explaining to a parent why their son/ daughter isn't scoring goals or getting beat one on one.  Many parents will ask me to work with their son/ daughter on one on one skills, and then be perplexed when I run them through 30-40 minutes of powerskating drills during a training session.  The reality is, that the lateral movement work, the transitions, the stops and starts, and power work develop the skating skills to win one on one battles, and to be more active in their play away from the puck.  Without good footwork, or skating skills, all the other tools are wasted.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Story of Derek Boogaard.... an interesting look inside.

    Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
    1999-00 Regina Pats WHL 5 0 0 0 17 -2 -- -- -- -- --
    1999-00 Prince George Cougars WHL 33 0 0 0 149 -3 -- -- -- -- --
    2000-01 Prince George Cougars WHL 61 1 8 9 245 -9 6 1 0 1 31
    2001-02 Prince George Cougars WHL 2 0 0 0 16 0 -- -- -- -- --
    2001-02 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 46 1 8 9 178 0 -- -- -- -- --
    2002-03 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 27 1 2 3 65 -2 -- -- -- -- --
    2002-03 Louisiana IceGators ECHL 33 1 2 3 240 -3 2 0 0 0 0
    2003-04 Houston Aeros AHL 53 0 4 4 207 -7 2 0 1 1 16
    2004-05 Houston Aeros AHL 56 1 4 5 259 0 5 0 0 0 38
    2005-06 Minnesota Wild NHL 65 2 4 6 158 2 -- -- -- -- --
    2006-07 Minnesota Wild NHL 48 0 1 1 120 0 4 0 1 1 20
    2007-08 Minnesota Wild NHL 34 0 0 0 74 -5 6 0 0 0 24
    2008-09 Minnesota Wild NHL 51 0 3 3 87 3 -- -- -- -- --
    2009-10 Minnesota Wild NHL 57 0 4 4 105 -12 -- -- -- -- --
    2010-11 New York Rangers NHL 22 1 1 2 45 0 -- -- -- -- --

    NHL Totals 277 3 13 16 589 10 0 1 1