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Proper Rest Crucial For The Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With their current two-day break the Golden Knights are using this valuable time off to rest their bodies from the heavy wear and tear they’ve successfully played through this season. The Golden Knights just finished up playing 31 in 56 days. That’s an average of 1.8 days between contests.

Even the best athletes in the world need rest and recovery. There’s not a lot of time for that when you’re playing pretty much every other day. The biggest fear that I have is that you’re going to get a lot of overuse injuries. You’re more worried about people pulling muscles, having injuries that we normally wouldn’t see as common in hockey because they usually do get breaks built into the schedule. -Dr. Brian Schultz, Anaheim Ducks team doctor

Coaches and more importantly team doctors are concerned with potential injuries as we head down the stretch. Anaheim’s team physician publicly gave his medical opinion about the stress a crammed schedule will have on NHL players.

We checked in with our medical expert, Vegas Sports Doc, Dr. Caleb Pinegar. Is Dr. Pinegar as concerned as NHL coaches and team doctors about a demanding schedule like the Golden Knights are facing this season?

Almost every sport has required or recommended breaks. The pitcher doesn’t throw consecutive days, football players get 5 to 7 days between games. They even talk about having a Sunday game followed by a Thursday game and the short break being concerning about being ready for the next game. -Dr. Caleb Pinegar, Crovetti Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

Rest to work ratio is an important component to keeping professional athletes healthy and in ideal playing shape. With a shortened season the schedule doesn’t allow the proper resting period for any team. It’s tough to expect the Golden Knights to bring a consistent level of energy every game. And yet they’ve won nine in a row.

The typical recovery period for Vegas and other clubs is just not possible in 2021. With a jam-packed season, physicians are worried players are skating with injuries that normally can be resolved with a normal amount of time in between games.

There are a lot of injuries and strains that go unreported because the guys have enough time between games to keep them under control. We don’t get to see what they’re doing in the training room in between games but that’s the critical part of their preparation during the season. There is a constant rehabilitation and prevention process as they keep their bodies healthy enough to continue competition. But when you get too many games in a row with not enough rest those injuries surface enough to prevent them from competing. Or can be the lead-up to a new and worst injury. -Dr. Pinegar

We’ve seen players in and out of the lineup this year more so than a typical 82-game NHL schedule. It’s possible the Golden Knights are finding spots to rest some of their players. However, coach Pete DeBoer doesn’t seem to be concerned with managing rest. His aggressive approach to winning the division is seemingly more important for the club’s future.

It’s tough to argue with a head coach in the first place.

I’m not a big believer in managing anything other than trying to win to give yourself the easiest path possible come playoff time. Obviously home-ice advantage against the lowest seed as you move through, it doesn’t always mean success but we want to pursue that as hard as we can. I think we’ll manage energy by not practicing, by giving them as much time off between games as we can in this condensed schedule, by making sure our travel is well planned and well thought out. -Pete DeBoer

DeBoer’s job is to win games and put his team in the best position to advance throughout the playoffs. Medical experts respect a coach’s drive but also want to optimize a player’s ability by keeping them healthy and fresh.

Dr. Pinegar has concerns about a player’s production if they’re not getting proper rest.

It’s not just about preparation for the upcoming opponent, it’s a lot about rest. The impact, the strain, the sprinting, the stopping, cutting all takes a toll on your body. And if you go hard too many days in a row you’ll get hurt. A tight schedule with back to back to back games and very Little recovery adds up in a negative way on the body. -Dr. Pinegar

Team physicians fear soft tissue injuries. Not the acute type like contusions or lacerations that can occur in any NHL season but overuse injuries. Dr. Pinegar worries more cases of tendinitis and bursitis will pop up more without proper rest. When injuries linger they can become worse or create other injuries if the player doesn’t have enough recovery time.

Thankfully, the Golden Knights were handed three days off with nine games to go. from ending their 56-game grind. Depending on Colorado’s performance down the stretch, Vegas may be able to rest players quietly nursing injuries even more. Only a few days off from the 56-game grind can possibly make the difference in the postseason.

**Stick tap to Dr. Caleb Pinegar for dropping some medical knowledge on this story. Dr. Pinegar is a physician with Crovetti Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine located in Henderson, NV. Read more about him and the practice here.**

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  1. Howard

    Marshy had it right today from The RJ:

    ““I think the biggest thing is our first forechecker, we’re going to have to be on the body,” Marchessault said. “Going to have to finish our checks, and second and third forward coming in, be ready to recover those pucks. It’s going to be a fast game and physical game, but our team is up for the challenge.”

    Exactly how The Blues beat them 2 out of 3 games – blueprint how to beat The AVS = they’re fast, but aren’t very big. You jam the middle on them and make their Dmen pay for their over aggressive sticks by fast passing. If you hold the puck against The Avs, their sticks get on your fast. You need to make fast-quick decisions against them. The Blues absolutely excelled in this 2 out of their 3 last games against The Avs, especially O-Reilly and Perron.

    Marsh again is dead right – first forechecker is huge against Avs – make them work shift to shift and hit them hard – will tire them out thus slowing them down.

  2. THE hockey GOD

    yeah well us fans need a rest too

    eyeballs going back and forth watching TV screen after TV screen

    listening to a myriad of announcers from various outlets

    processing information at light speed, our brains going to mush too soon

    some people yell at screen straining their vocal cords to the limit

    and the volume is so loud it hurts your ears and the neighbors yell
    “hey bub turn that thing down we trying to watch Matlock over here”

  3. Daryl

    There is plenty of time to rest ayers when you are playing SJS, LAK, and the Ducks. Let couple players skip a game or two. VGK could beat all 3 of those teams with backup players and a backup goalie. Saying these players need rest is an excuse… not that they need rest, they do, but that they aren’t able to get it

  4. Tim

    I think some rest to hit the training room to work out some of the dings you receive in a game are important. At the same time were in a 9 game sprint to the playoffs and every game should be treated like a playoff game. Contrary to Ken’s belief just making the playoffs in what order doesn’t matter to me is nonsense. He may of changed his opinion but that at one time was his thinking. Tonight we should put an explanation point and leave no doubt who’s the best team in the West if we don’t it’s on us.

    • Daryl

      I wouldn’t rest players on games like this but I think VGK can afford to rest a few players in some of the other games. This is, more than others, I really don’t think it matters what position you fall in in the playoffs

  5. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    BIG GAME tonight (understatement)

    Possible 4 point game. (if won in regulation)

    Need Flurey’s best tonight.

    Gonna be fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Tim

      Doc, as much as the team loves Fleury and with him closing in on third all time in wins I think Fleury will give a magical performance.

  6. Daryl

    Ken or Jason,
    If PDB continues this rotation Lehner will get one of the games against MIN but miss both games against COL. Do you think PDB switches things up so Lehner will get one of the COL games?

  7. sb

    They make it sound like this is something new. It’s not. In the 50’s and 60’s (Original Six), the schedule was 70 games, 3 games played every 7 days, regular season was six months. Travel was by train, not luxury jet and the Ritz Carlton. Teams didn’t travel with a back-up goaltender. Most goalies played every one of the 70 games (Glenn Hall played more than 500 consecutive games). The team didn’t carry any extra players on the road. The players didn’t wear light weight Kevlar like today. Leather skates, small shin and shoulder pads. Goalie pads made from horse hair that weighed 50 pounds by the 3rd period. Ahhhhh, hockey players are capable of playing 6 to 7 games every 14 days. Put away the crying towel and drop the puck and cash those $5 million checks.

    • Daryl

      So true… Hate listening to millionaires complain about how hard they have it

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