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Jets use off-season to keep their edge

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If there's one benefit to missing the playoffs, it's that you can come to next season's training camp ripped and raring to go.

Members of the Winnipeg Jets are trickling into town and gearing up for the upcoming season, whenever it may be. But regardless of the state of negotiations between the NHL and the players, the workouts continue.

For the Jets, in fact, they started just a few weeks after last season ended.

Each player has his own routine, but generally they revolve around lifting weights and building strength in their legs by running, cycling and doing plyometrics, which is essentially lots of jumping, and the higher the better.

Defenceman Mark Stuart, who spent the off-season working out at home in Minnesota, said there's no question professional hockey is a year-round sport. Working out every day, however, can get a little tedious, so he does his best to keep things fresh by continuously adding new wrinkles such as running stairs or sprinting with a parachute behind him.

"That's the thing with training; I enjoy it and it's fun, but when you're doing it for three months, you have to mix it up a little and find new things to do. A lot of guys push sleds or go out for runs just to mix it up and get out of the weight room," Stuart said.

Gone are the days when players would show up at camp after a summer of sitting on their decks and drinking beer, then play their way into shape.

"If you don't come to camp in shape, you're going to stand out pretty quickly," he said.

One of the newest Jets, Olli Jokinen, agreed.

"You have to come into camp in good shape because the competition is so high. You have 40 or 50 guys coming to camp, so if you're not in shape, you're behind the eight-ball right away and somebody else is going to take your job," he said.

 

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 11, 2012 A2

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