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Inside an NHL Summer Skills Practice: When the Season Ends, the Work to Improve Begins

No matter what level of hockey you play, you can always improve your skills. Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic spent the day with Charlie Coyle (BOS), James van Riemsdyk (BOS), Ryan Donato (CHI) and their skills coaches to give fans an inside look at what some of the best players in the world work on in the offseason.


Only 25 days had passed since Coyle, van Riemsdyk and the Boston Bruins fell short against the Florida Panthers. Coyle averaged 18:49 of ice time per game in the playoffs, second-most on the team after David Pastranak. Yet the center was on the ice at this prep school rink south of Boston, early by his standards, to practice skills that often gather cobwebs during the season.


"Yeah, September's a long ways away," Coyle said. "But just doing this little stuff, getting the hands going, putting some new things in your mind to try to work on it and gain that repetition , you can't really hurt yourself."



"Little plays matter." Even very successful NHL players work on the fundamentals of the game in the offseason. Stick-handling, shooting, playing the puck along the boards, are all skills that are essential to success as a hockey player. As Coyle said, "September is a long ways away" but if you can put in work now, you'll see results when the season starts back up again.


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