Leo Komarov has been having NHL summers since they were KHL summers.
Possibly the biggest PR Buzzword for the Leafs organization this season, after the tank wrapped up and they were able to throw away “pain”, was “NHL summer”. Tobias Lindberg wants to make the NHL? He needs to have an NHL summer. William Nylander and Mitch Marner want to secure their spots for next year? They need NHL summers. Nazem Kadri wants to be a first line player? You better believe he needs an NHL summer.
Apparently, the team is listening.
That’s Nikita Soshnikov, ripping his trademark wrist shot into a beat up EZGoal in the back parking lot of some random building. He looks like a man having an NHL summer.
— DJP (@oldpappy59) August 2, 2016
That’s Auston Matthews, who is already better built and more skilled than just about every teenaged hockey player on this planet. Is the still at home? Heck no, he’s already hitting the suburban Toronto rinks, doing NHL summer things at Vaughan Sports Village.
Rich Clune? He doesn’t even have an NHL contract for this year, and he’s definitely older than all of these kids that the term was coined for. But you better believe he’s having an NHL summer, though his Instagram seems to imply that the end goal is to become Batman, who I don’t believe was ever an NHLer.
William Nylander? This is his second NHL summer. At this point, we might need to stop calling it an NHL summer, and start calling it a preparation to singlehandedly fight (and win) World War 3. The kid is approaching 200 pounds of muscle now, which is absurd to think about after he was drafted with a boy band member’s physique.
Wide leg squats are probably the best exercise I do for building speed strength in the glutes, hamstrings and adductors! I can’t stress enough the importance of mobility and balance. Head up, chest up, load through the heels, sink the hips back, track the knees directly over the feet, and fire away! Take a breath in between each rep to ensure maximum intensity. Five sets of five at a weight that is challenging, but that you can still move with speed! Your skating stride will thank you, have fun!! ?
Brooks Laich? You better believe he’s having a summer. He’s been in the NHL for ages, and has absolutely no reason to have an NHL summer, but if he’s doing it, it reminds the kids to join in.
Connor Carrick? Led the AHL playoffs in scoring, has a new contract, and the Leafs need right-handed defencemen. But he’s still having an NHL summer.
Nazem Kadri? I’m not quite sure what he’s doing here, but it looks like an NHL summer to me.
Peter Holland? Started his summer in the spring.
Connor Brown? Any doubt that his ankle wasn’t back to 100% can be thrown away with that much weight being placed on it.
Tobias Lindberg? Even his off days are NHL summer days.
Mitch Marner? Uhh… that doesn’t look very NHL summer-y, but it’s a great cause, so he gets a pass. Still, we need something to make us feel better.
Why is there so much concern about Mitch Marner bulking up for training camp? He’s been lifting weights for weeks. pic.twitter.com/gJUFuWAePo
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) May 30, 2016
Ah, that’s the good stuff.
Anyway, I’m no sports scientist, so I don’t know if being able to punch a wall through another wall is going to help these Leafs players win the Stanley Cup anytime soon. But if nothing else, the fact that so many of them are so publicly showing their commitment to physically improving as management wants them to, if nothing else, shows a level of buy-in to the team’s on and off-ice plans. Maybe it means more than we think, even if I’m pretty guys like the big three rookies could rack up points while missing limbs, let alone having them be re-enforced.