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At 30 years-old, Capitals' Lars Eller is relearning his skating technique

4 novembre 2019
It's never too late to learn something new. Just ask Washington Capitals center Lars Eller.

Eller, who had the game winner to clinch the Caps' 2018 Stanley Cup Championship, had been skating the same way for the last 25 years. His skating and his mechanics on the ice have been mostly the same since he was a child. During the offseason leading up to the start of the 19-20, the Stanley Cup champion decided to change his technique.

Over the last few years, Eller has worked with three skating coaches, incorporating pieces from each into his game. Wanting to make more significant changes, and knowing that the Capitals' new system is heavily reliant on skating, he worked with local coach Wendy Marco. The star center wanted to get his upper body more in sync with his lower, in turn building his speed. With his arms being the primary focus, he worked on his balance, alignment and point of gravity, all of which will ultimately lead to better movement on the ice.

While Eller did note that the tweaks are likely unnoticeable on television, he constantly reminds himself of the adjustments while he's on the ice.

"When you've skated a certain way for 25 years and you try to change your mechanics in five or six sessions, five or six hours, when you spend 10,000 hours doing something else, then it's hard. You have to think about other things on the ice, too."

Having done a lot of video work in the offseason with Coach Marco, he was able to identify the ways he could improve his stride, speed, and explosiveness. After most games, the 30 year-old reviews video footage to see where he can further improve.

"So far it doesn't hurt me to think about it," says Eller. "Sometimes I just watch clips after (games) in case I see, 'Here, okay, I can do a better job of getting my upper body involved there, the separation.' ... So, yeah, it's very technical."

Given his dedication to perfecting his craft, and his continued attention to the smaller details and his work ethic, Coach Todd Reirden is confident Eller will have a strong season. He was quoted as saying; "He puts the work in and continues to be the perform guy for us in that third (line.) And you know, when things don't go well, we move him up and that is a luxury I definitely have."

Eller had 13 goals and 23 assists in 81 games last season, and a career-high 18 goals and 20 assists in 81 games during the 17-18 season, the year he and the Caps' won the Stanley Cup.

Thus far, Eller has netted 11 points in 16 games, including 5 goals. Last month, he had points in the form of assists on game winning goals in back to back games against Chicago and Calgary. He also filled in for Evgeny Kuznetsov on the second line during Kuznetsov's suspension, and did well in his three games on the second line.

The Caps' center seems hopeful to continue to grow through the 19-20 season, aspiring to capitalize on and create more scoring chances for himself and his line-mates.

"I think I had all the chances to score, you know, to score more goals and score more than I did." Eller said regarding his production during the 18-19 season. "That is the number one thing. Are you creating enough scoring chances to score goals? And I think I did that. It was just a matter of capitalizing off my chances, and I think I could have done a better job of that last year. And so, you know, I think I can score more."

With the Capitals currently sitting atop the NHL standings and Eller already having 11 points in his back pocket, it's clear the forward is as focused as ever, and may be headed for a career season.

Source: Washington Post
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