Detroit Day 3The first off-ice workout at Barwis on Monday morning has a difficulty of "legendary" on any gaming scale. When he was done, though, Eli 14.0 had a big smile on his face. "I'm in so much better shape than last year," he said. "I murdered all the strength stuff."
I was hoping that would happen. He's worked so hard this summer, doing workouts that are ridiculously difficult, just to be ready when he went up to camp. Feeling that good after a brutal workout was a sign that his training worked.
Once he got on the ice, though, it was tough.
In the very first drill of camp he was facing AAA Midgets, and I think at least two of the guys were wearing USA hockey gear that I'm betting they didn't have to buy, based on their skill level (it turned out that one of those guys had been on the 16U U.S. national team). They tore him up, but as the day progressed, I noticed that they destroyed everyone else, too.
His legs didn't have the pop they normally do, either, which was something else that surprised. It's a long week, though, and his advantage is that he asks questions and lots of them. That's his job while he's here--ask every question he can. Ask and learn.
When he was done for the day, we talked on the way back to the hotel. "Not my best day," he said, "but I was better in the afternoon. And it's a long week."
The week usually works to his advantage. By the end of the week, most kids are totally exhausted from the off-ice workouts, but he usually gets on top of the curve by Wednesday, and the last two days are his.
I saw those Midgets walking down the hall together later in the week, and I said "You guys are brutal." They stopped, wondering what they'd done. "Every time you look at my kid, all you see is opportunity." They burst out laughing.