The morning skate is a polarizing topic in the NHL. Almost every team in the league participates in a practice the morning before a game, but the Columbus Blue Jackets are one squad which abandoned the traditional format back in November. With the Blue Jackets streaking, Tortorella is reiterating his decision to abandon the morning practice is common sense and anything else is stupidity.
Tortorella on the morning skate, via TSN:
“That’s about stupidity, quite honestly. Why do we bring the players in once a day to practice and let them go home, but bring them in twice a day to play a game?”
That’s maybe the most sense Tortorella has made in his entire career. Tortorella’s decision is based on common sense and player fatigue, both mentally and physically.
“Common sense dictates. We are trying to keep our guys, not so much physically fresh, but mentally fresh.”
Tortorella has been widely criticized over the course of his career, but it’s pretty difficult to argue against this decision. Hockey is a grueling sport stretched across a marathon of a season. Asking players to skate and practice before a game seems like a recipe for disaster. Tactics and strategies should all be covered in practice or off the ice and not the morning before the game where energy is at a premium.
The GM of the Penguins has also stated he is firmly against the morning skate. Will the NHL finally buck the morning skate trend?