I’ve noticed on twitter after the Coyotes loss Penguins fans weren’t happy with the team taking time off after that loss. Taking the day off seemed like a bad idea, why not try to go over their defensive systems, work on some new d pairings, or even try to work on the PP?

Almost every professional and semi professional team has physical performance indicators. Those watching 24/7 a few years ago witnessed Bylsma giving grades for each player after each game.

Similarly the fitness staff can have measures of their own, however the process is slightly different. Instead of the staff marking the players, the staff can give the players grading papers for physical indicators. Basically they are trying to find out how the team feels physically. It could be very detailed, or very basic, but getting a ‘feel’ for the teams’ energy level is important.

I wrote about the importance of peaking at the right time, these indicators or markers are a great way to assess the need to increase or decrease a team’s workload.

Some indicators that can be used post game are:

Lower body strength

  • Strong
  • average
  • weak
  • gassed

Upper body strength

  • Strong
  • average
  • weak
  • gassed

Core strength

  • Strong
  • stable
  • unstable
  • weak

Overall energy

  • Very high
  • high
  • average
  • below average
  • gassed


  • Loose
  • normal
  • stiff
  • rigid

Flexibility can be tested post game by the staff. Using simple tests through the cool down will allow the staff to assess how the players are recovering post game. These can be marked against measures taken at the start of the season. Using rolling 10 game averages the staff can get a great read on how each individual player and the team overall is tracking physically.


  • Full
  • three quarter tank
  • half tank
  • quarter tank
  • empty

Do I find it concerning that with 10 games to go before the playoffs start this team needs a day off? Yes, but I can understand why, there are players playing out of position in the depth chart. Maatta might be the best example; Bylsma has been strict with Maatta’s minutes through the year, well the volume of minutes anyway. However as the Penguins back 6 has chopped and changed all season Maatta’s minutes have become tougher. This will wear him down, don’t worry about corsi or fenwick, even though I do like them, in this situation specific indicators need to be used to see how the player is tracking physically.

There is a hole to utilising system like this, the honesty of the players. If they ‘buy in’ on the system and they are honest, the staff can use the data to really help. If they worry about missing games or having minutes reduced, well what is an athlete going to do? Lie, and make sure they are out there, on the ice, worrying about the ‘now’ and not the future performance.

It’s a tough balance, this Penguins team looks like it cares about the ‘bigger picture’ it will be interesting to see if they can physically hold it together for Martin, Letang, Malkin, and to a lesser extent Bennett, to return and take the physical load off those carrying it.