Boudreau’s infamous skate test draws mixed reviews

Published 10:51 am Sunday, September 17, 2017

By Dane Mizutani

Pioneer Press

Ryan Suter got his first taste of coach Bruce Boudreau’s infamously difficult skating test Friday morning after escaping it last season while at the World Cup of Hockey.

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Suter, however, wasn’t sure what the big fuss was about.

“I don’t do any conditioning all summer and I come out and I can do that,” Suter joked. “Like it’s not even worth me doing the test.”

The skate test features players skating 4 1/2 lengths of the ice sheet in back-to-back-to-back fashion. You have to finish in a certain amount of time —37 seconds on the opening run and 40 seconds on the final two runs —to avoid having to go two more times.

“It’s easy,” Suter said with a smirk. “It’s all a mindset. I don’t think there’s much more than that.”

“Well, it was for him,” veteran Matt Cullen retorted. “I don’t think his heart rate got over 150.”

Suter and Cullen were two of the players in the morning session that finished the skate test in a timely fashion. Charlie Coyle starred in the afternoon session. Chris Stewart wasn’t so lucky. He was one of the players that had go two more times.

After finishing, he splintered his stick on the ice in frustration and tossed a water bottle before storming to the locker room.

Asked whether he talked to Stewart after, Boudreau responded, “No, I don’t want to talk to him until tomorrow.”

“He has to know … I have nothing to do with the times, OK,” Boudreau continued with a smile. “They are coming from other people.”

Boudreau said he was satisfied with how the test went as a whole.

“A couple guys cramped up,” Boudreau said with a pause. “Or said they cramped up, because they didn’t want to do laps four and five. … I thought for the most part everybody came in in really good shape, which is always a good sign that they’re anxious to get going.”

“It seems like every coach has their own little signature way of getting guys, so to speak,”  added Cullen, who has played for eight teams over the course of his 20-year career. “They all have their own that they like. … This was a good one. This was a tough one.”