Mir­ror, mir­ror on the wall, who’s the fittest Flame of all?

Sur­prise! It’s not cap­tain Mark Gior­dano ... it’s Michael Fro­lik

Calgary Sun - - SPORTS - @Kris­ten_Od­land Kris­ten OD­LAND kod­land@post­media.com

There’s noth­ing like some friendly com­pe­ti­tion to start the Na­tional Hockey League sea­son.

The Cal­gary Flames re­leased the re­sults of their an­nual fit­ness test­ing on Satur­day, and, to the ini­tial shock of many, Mark Gior­dano was not the fittest player to start train­ing camp. Cue the dra­matic mu­sic. In­stead, it was Flames winger Michael Fro­lik that earned the over­all ti­tle of ’Fittest Flame’ and bested the cap­tain, who fin­ished sec­ond while Gar­net Hath­away fin­ished third.

Good news for all, of course.

But Glen Gu­lutzan cau­tioned a deeper look into the num­bers.

“I wouldn’t go too far with that one,” warned the Flames head coach. “If you look at Gio, his num­bers are all up from last year. They’re not down. They’re up. Fro didn’t test last year be­cause of the World Cup.

“And there’s still some de­bate — some good hockey de­bate — about the tests be­cause they’re all weighted dif­fer­ently.

“Gio won a lot of the events but didn’t win the over­all. So the bat­tle rages on.”

That be­ing said, Fro­lik was in no mood to brag to the media about his ac­com­plish­ments.

“I just talked to (Gio), and he said, ’Be care­ful what you say,’ “said the 29-year-old Czech na­tive with a chuckle. “So I’m go­ing to be care­ful. I did good on the bike, and it made the dif­fer­ence in the fi­nal re­sults. But I don’t re­ally think it mat­ters. It shows how good of shape you’re in, and I think it mat­ters how you play on the ice.”

Fro­lik, who un­der­went wrist surgery in the off-sea­son, said he’s 90% healed. Of course, his over­all pull-up to­tal suf­fered dur­ing his fit­ness test­ing, so Gior­dano likely had him beat there.

“We’ll see,” Fro­lik said. “What’s on the pa­per doesn’t lie.”

The fit­ness test­ing, how­ever, is no joke.

While the play­ers have put Thursday be­hind them and have been on the ice for two days al­ready, Ryan van Asten has been hard at work an­a­lyz­ing the re­sults.

The test­ing in­cludes three dif­fer­ent eval­u­a­tions for the play­ers’ en­ergy sys­tems: a sub-max­i­mal test (an es­ti­mate of their aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity), a 2.5-minute bike test (a mea­sure­ment of their anaer­o­bic ca­pac­ity or, sim­ply put, the size of their gas tank) and a 10-sec­ond Win­gate test on the bike which mea­sures the ATP CP (their short, ex­plo­sive power).

Then there’s ver­ti­cal jump­ing to mea­sure me­chan­i­cal power from a dead stop, up­per body strength (pull-ups), body com­po­si­tion test­ing (body fat mea­sure­ment) and func­tional move­ment screen, which iden­ti­fies any po­ten­tial im­bal­ances in the body.

“The phys­i­ol­ogy of the ath­lete doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean he’s go­ing to be a good hockey player on the ice,” van Asten said. “But we know if en­ergy sys­tems are up to par (with) their strength (and) their power, they’re go­ing to be bet­ter off on the ice . . . the phys­i­ol­ogy just helps sup­port that. Our re­sults are pretty pleas­ing this year. The best I’ve ever seen since I’ve been in the NHL, so that’s good.”

Mean­while, the topthree fittest rook­ies were Josh Healey, Dil­lon Dube and Brett Pol­lock.

Gu­lutzan re­ported the en­tire av­er­age team body fat per­cent­age was at 9%.

“It’s hard to get bet­ter than that,” Gu­lutzan said. “The big­gest thing for me is with 90% of the vet­eran guys, their num­bers are up. And our young play­ers, 90 to 95% of our num­bers are up from last year. So that’s a good sign. It’s safe to say th­ese guys are al­most Olympic-trained ath­letes that train the full year ’round.” And they’re not alone. It’s safe to as­sume 30 other Na­tional Hockey League teams trained ex­actly the same way in the off-sea­son and tried to im­prove the phys­i­cal side of their game.

But how does that trans­late on-ice?

“We don’t know,” Gu­lutzan said.

“But it shows you the mind­set this sum­mer. There was a lot of push this sum­mer to achieve that.”

Al chaReST PhOTOS/POSt­MedIa

giOR­danO MaRk

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