This week's cover: November 26, 2014

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The way you practice skating ... is the way you will skate in the future


By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

Neuroscience in 2014 offers visible evidence through MRI scans that when young folks (defined as all ages up into the early 20s) lie on a couch all day or play soccer with quickness and agility, read books or solve math problems, sprint fast or jog slowly, practice piano improvisationally or by reading the notes on paper, memorize answers for an upcoming test or challenge the basis of those answers with creative thinking, whatever they do repeatedly is what they become – or, at the very least, it will require moving a mountain to change the course of this repetition.

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What does good coaching look like?


By Kevin Hartzell
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

Every so often a kind soul would pass my way and say something like, “You’re doing a nice job with your team, Hartz.” It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the kind words, but I was always left to asking myself, “Nice compared to what, compared to who?”

Really, how does a coach really know? I wondered what another coach would be doing with my team. What talents might they pull out of my team that I was not? Would my team with a different coach develop an alternative identity for better or for worse?

Read more: What does good coaching look like?

Why is core strength so important to become a good skater?


By Diane Ness


Lately, core strength has become a buzzword when talking about training for any sport. As I stated in an earlier article, core strength is one of the four pillars of skating. So just to review, why is core strength so important? The simple answer is that it connects our upper and lower body. We use our core everyday, whether it be sitting in a chair, standing up, shoveling snow or raking the leaves … the list goes on. If your core is weak, it can negatively impact how your arms and legs function. A strong core also enhances balance and stability, which may be the most import function in young skaters.

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Beyond the box score

True freshmen Spencer Naas (above) and Johnny Austin impacting the UConn Huskies


By John Hamre
Let’s Play Hockey Guest Columnist

The Minnesota Twins end their post-game radio broadcasts with a segment called ‘Beyond the Box Score.’ Some insightful nugget of information is described by the Twins broadcaster that somehow relates to the previous four hours of baseball played. A usually little-known piece of information has been given to the baseball fan to savor until the next morning’s newspaper and the next game ahead. The listener is welcomed to tune in again with each unique Beyond the Box Score segment.

Hockey games can present many such storylines of dueling players’ match-ups or coaching strategies, of teammates supporting one another or of historical relationships brought to the present. Last Friday night, a Hockey East game provided an interesting box score, and a reason to share beyond.

Read more: Beyond the box score