Last week, Anthony Mantha told DetroitRedWings.com’s Arthur J. Regner and other media scribes that coach Jeff Blashill encouraged #39 to seek out a boxing coach this summer.
This afternoon, Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff delivers a superb quote regarding the rationale behind Blashill’s suggestion:
“Greg Cronin, the assistant (coach) for the Islanders actually told me about it a long time ago,” Blashill said of boxing as a hockey training tool. “It teaches people how to handle fear. Not fear of getting hit necessarily but fear of life and overcoming that, and not having any fear at all. But I also think it brings out aggression.
“I think with Anthony, I just want him to continue to see that there’s more there in terms of pushing himself beyond his comfort level. I’m hoping that in summer training he can push himself beyond his comfort level. If he comes back and has the same year next year that he had this year, not good enough.
“We need guys to make significant steps. There’s teams in this league that last year were out (of the playoffs) and this year are in, and if you look at it, certain individual players made real significant steps. That’s what we need from guys that have that biggest area of growth.”
Duff continues, and I hope that the coaching staff and front office take Blashill’s words to heart. It wouldn’t hurt if some of the veterans push themselves to take “significant steps” forward, either.