The 2011 NHL Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins is creeping up [the game is scheduled for New Year's Day]. As the Caps struggle through the month of December, the question remains: is Washington ready to give Pittsburgh a game?
The Penguins have been on a hot streak of late, especially super captain Sidney Crosby, who leads the league in points  and goals  and is the front runner for this season's MVP award. If the Caps hope to have a chance against Sid the Kid and the high-octane Penguin offense, they will have to play strong D and be in shape for a long game.
One Washington defenseman who is always well prepared for the Winter Classic is the never-gets-tired Mike Green. A two-time runner-up for the Norris Trophy [top defenseman in the NHL], Green uses the off-season to train his body to perform at top speed night after night. Then he is prepared for the long season ahead.
“Training is everything,” Green says. “You used to go to camp to get into shape. Nowadays, you have to be in shape to go to camp. You’re only going to get better by training off the ice, and it will carry onto the ice.”
The secret to #52’s success? Functional training at Crash Conditioning in Calgary, Alberta.
“My program as a whole [emphasizes] athleticism first,” says Doug Crashley, owner of Crash Conditioning. “We use the band exercises to strengthen the glutes, which are pretty valuable…[for] a [hockey] stride. You are standing on your feet for everything, so you should do as many [training] movements as possible in that position. [It also gets] hockey players to see the value of developing their athleticism and not just being hockey players, but being athletes first. We are not going to do what [the athletes] necessarily want to do. We are going to try [to] push them past what they believe is their threshold to get more out of them.”
The results of Green’s tough off-season training program are backed up by a single stat: his average time on ice per game [26.02 minutes], which makes him the fourth-longest skater in the entire NHL. Fellow Crash workout partner and reigning Norris trophy winner Duncan Keith is number two [26:57].
To play that long for an entire NHL season is extremely difficult, but thanks to his functional training, Green’s body can take a beating.
View the video below to see what an average day at Crash Conditioning is like. For more training videos, check out Green's drills and weight room exercises on STACK TV.