Grubauer marathon man on bike
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If and when the NHL season resumes, whether finishing regular-season play or beginning with some sort of playoff format, Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer should be in excellent condition.
Playing shape is another matter -- he’ll need a training camp for that -- but Grubauer should be fine as far as his cardio is concerned.
Grubauer, who has remained in Denver during the NHL pause for the COVID-19 pandemic, told NHL.com that he has been lifting weights and biking 100 miles a day.
"My hand-eye coordination has reached the zero point; you don't get 500 or 600 shots fired in your direction each day," Grubauer said. "If you don't have that for two-three weeks, then you are losing it, but I think that it'll come back fast.
“You can work with a tennis ball and a tennis racket, hit the wall and put some shots on you, but there's not much (else) that you can do. It's difficult at the moment.”
Grubauer, who is healthy now, was close to returning from a lower-body injury when the NHL hit the pause button on March 12. He was injured in the third period on Feb. 15 against Los Angeles in the outdoor game at the Air Force Academy in a collision with teammate Ian Cole while Kings forward Austin Wagner was driving to the net.
Several other players were recovering from injuries when the Avalanche played the New York Rangers on March 11: Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, Matt Calvert and Colin Wilson.
"Shortly before the lockdown came, I was ready to go, so it hurts (not being able to play) even a little more," Grubauer said. "At the time we had many injuries, many important players were sidelined, so the pause came at a good time, otherwise we would have started into the playoffs with (players from our American Hockey League) team. We hope that we can continue soon. Everybody wants to play hockey.
"Before the lockdown came, I picked up some weights out of the gym and built up something in my garage. The Rocky Mountains are one reason why I stayed here in Denver. I bought a racing bike and I am cycling about 100 miles per day as well as doing a workout with weights.
“I'd love to go hiking in the mountains as well, but you have to watch out that there are not too many people out there, which wouldn't be too good. I prefer cycling."
The Avalanche went into the pause on a 9-2-2 roll and 42-20-8 overall, two points behind St. Louis for first place in the Western Conference and Central Division with a game in hand.
Grubauer has gone 18-12-4 in 36 games this season with a 2.63 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. Pavel Francouz started 12 of 13 games before the pause while Grubauer was sidelined and went 8-2-2 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. Francouz is 21-7-4 overall with a 2.41 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.
The NHL and NHL Players Association announced Friday that the two-game NHL Global Series games scheduled for the fall featuring the Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets in Helsinki, Finland, have been postponed.
“The NHLPA and the NHL remain committed to maintaining and growing our international presence,” they said in a release. “We hope that our fans overseas understand the need to postpone the 2020 games, but we look forward to being back with them in 2021.”