‘Hab’ itual prepa­ra­tions

Slaney gear­ing up for train­ing camp with Mon­treal

The Compass - - OPINION - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

ABOUT ROBERT

SLANEY:

• Age — 24; • Home­town — Up­per Is­land Cove; • Re­sides — St. John’s; • Fam­ily — par­ents are Val and Edith; has two sis­ters, Lori and Leanne; • Favourite team grow­ing up — Mon­treal Cana­di­ens; • Favourite player — Mario Lemieux; • Favourite sport to play that is not hockey — golf; • Favourite tele­vi­sion show — Fam­ily Guy; • Favourite movie — Happy Gil­more; • Favourite food — chicken; • Beer or wine — beer; • Three favourite artists on MP3 player — Eric Church, Ge­orge Strait and the Master­less Men; • Proud­est mo­ment — sign­ing first pro­fes­sional contract.

Robert Slaney’s goal head­ing into this off­sea­son is not to work on one spe­cific part of his game, but to per­fect all as­pects of his game as he pre­pares to en­ter train­ing camp with the Mon­tréal Cana­di­ens.

“Yo u can al­ways get bet­ter in dif­fer­ent ar­eas,” said the 24-year-old Up­per Is­land Cove na­tive.

Slaney, who re­sides in St. John’s dur­ing the off-sea­son, noted he would like to see im­prove­ment in his foot speed.

“I think that if I im­prove my speed and gen­eral strength by the end of the summer I’ll be do­ing OK,” he said.

Prior to start­ing his train­ing pro­gram, Slaney took a cou­ple of weeks off once his sea­son ended with the Hamil­ton Bull­dogs, the Cana­di­ens’ Amer­i­can Hockey League af­fil­i­ate, on April 15. “I have a lit­tle va­ca­tion planned for June and then I’ ll get back at it,” he said.

Th e full train­ing sched­ule has not started for Slaney.

He is slated to be­gin a regime with highly touted St. John’s trainer Bob Thomp­son, who has helped cur­rent Na­tional Hockey League players Ryan Clowe and Teddy Pur­cell.

“While I’ve been wait­ing for him to get go­ing, I’ve been do­ing a lit­tle bit on my own,” he said.

“I’m not go­ing to hold any pres­sure over my head when there is noth­ing there.”

— Robert Slaney

Slaney, who got dealt to the orig­i­nal six fran­chise on Feb. 17 as a part of a deal be­tween the Cana­di­ens and Nashville Preda­tors for de­fence­man Hal Gill, will have the op­por­tu­nity to pick the brains of cur­rent pro players this off-sea­son. New­found­land and Labrador cur­rently has six players with pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence who reg­u­larly re­turn to this prov­ince at some point dur­ing the summer

Although the op­tion is there, he doesn’t think he’ll take the op­por­tu­nity to pick their brains prior to the be­gin­ning of train­ing camp.

“I train with those guys and I talk a lit­tle bit of hockey with those guys, but for the most part, when they come home, they just get away from the game for a bit,” said Slaney.

Slaney signed his first pro­fes­sional contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2009 af­ter four suc­cess­ful sea­sons with the Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles of the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League. He has played in a to­tal of 73 AHL games with the Toronto Mar­lies, Milwaukee Ad­mi­rals and Hamil­ton Bull­dogs and 114 games in the East Coast Hockey League with the Read­ing Roy­als and Cincin­nati Cy­clones.

Feel­ing no pres­sure

For Slaney, there is no added pres­sure to en­ter­ing train­ing camp with a new club.

“I al­ways en­ter ev­ery train­ing camp like it’s my last,” he said.

When camp opens in early Septem­ber, Slaney will be go­ing through his third such ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I’ve been to train­ing camps be­fore and I know what to expect,” he said.

It is this train of thought that al­lows him to fo­cus on get­ting bet­ter this off­sea­son, rather than on un­nec­es­sary pres­sure.

“I’m not go­ing to hold any pres­sure over my head when there is noth­ing there,” he said.

Slaney had noth­ing but good things to say about the or­ga­ni­za­tion that he now finds him­self in.

“Mon­treal is a first class or­ga­ni­za­ton,” he said.

In fact, Slaney said there are sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Mon­treal and Toronto.

He said both clubs treat their players with re­spect and pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

“Ev­ery­thing was about the player and ran so pro­fes­sion­ally, to make sure you were happy in ev­ery as­pect, and not just hockey,” said Slaney.

From nu­tri­tion­ists to sports psy­chol­o­gists, all were made avail­able to the third-year pro.

Ex­pand­ing role

When he was moved along with Blake Ge­of­frion to Mon­treal, Slaney said he was given an ex­panded role from the one he was used to when split­ting time be­tween the Milwaukee Ad­mi­rals and Cincin­nati Cy­clones.

“Af­ter I got traded to Mon­treal, I felt like I had a lit­tle bit more of a role and a lit­tle bit more of an op­por­tu­nity,” he said.

He felt like he took ad­van­tage of it dur­ing his time there, reg­is­ter­ing three goals and one as­sist in 21 games with the Bull­dogs.

“The coaches seemed to like me and put me in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions,” said Slaney. “It did a lot for my con­fi­dence and helped my game.”

The move to Hamil­ton meant not only a big­ger role for the NHL hope­ful, but also the chance to play pro­fes­sion­ally in his home prov­ince. On March 13, Slaney got the op­por­tu­nity to play in St. John’s, mak­ing the most of it with a third pe­riod marker — his first AHL goal.

“That was cer­tainly some­thing spe­cial,” said Slaney.

Mak­ing it more spe­cial was the op­por­tu­nity to do it in front of fam­ily and friends.

“Ev­ery­body was pretty ex­cited,” he said.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Robert Slaney of Up­per Is­land Cove is shown in ac­tion with the Hamil­ton Bull­dogs of the Amer­i­can Hockey League dur­ing a game in St. John’s in March.

Transcon­ti­nen­tal Me­dia file photo

Robert Slaney

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.