By Jim Charshafian
While the summer usually provides hockey players with a chance to catch up on sleep after a season filled with long travel nights and early wakeup calls, Dov Grumet-Morris has not been afforded that luxury.
The Rampage goaltender and his wife, Rachel, celebrated the birth of their first child, Gabriella, just days after the team’s season ended in May. Between acclimating to being a first-time father and training six days a week for the upcoming season, Grumet-Morris has been keeping busy, to say the least.
“She’s really cute,” Grumet-Morris said of his newborn daughter, “so that helps.”
“My wife actually went into labor the day I got back [to Houston] from San Antonio. The first three weeks at home I spent getting everything set up and then I got adjusted to being a new dad. Then I contacted the [Florida Panther’s] strength and conditioning coach, Craig Slaunwhite, and he put together a program for me.” Grumet-Morris and Slaunwhite worked out a regimen that places a strong emphasis on agility, but also puts a high level of stress on weight training.
“I’m always trying to improve on flexibility and speed, along with agility,” Grumet-Morris said.” I’m working out six days a week with running four days a week, agility two days a week, and strength and conditioning four days a week.”
The goal of the workout plan is to help Grumet-Morris recover after the long grind of an AHL season and to improve the netminder’s strength for the upcoming campaign.
“I’m trying to rebuild some of the muscle and size that I lost during the year,” he said. “I’m working on rehabbing the injuries that I’ve had in the past and trying to prevent injuries in the future.”
Grumet-Morris, 30, will be entering his eighth professional year this fall. As his career has progressed, he’s figured out what kind of offseason training he needs to put his body through in order to be prepared for the rigors of a full season.
“When you’re younger, you don’t know what to expect,” he said. “As you get older, you get a better sense of what to expect during the season and what your body needs.”
After posting a 19-13-1 record with a 2.33 GAA and a .921 save percentage in 34 games (an AHL career-high) with the Rampage, Grumet-Morris is looking to build on his strong 2011-12 campaign. His solid play earned him a two-way NHL contract when he signed a one-year pact with the Panthers on July 1.
Despite that Grumet-Morris will enter training camp on the most solid footing of his career, he has not placed any added weight to the importance of the current offseason. Just as he has in previous summers, he has committed himself to training as hard as he can.
“In terms of the intensity level, your training should always be the same,” he said. “It should never vary under any circumstance. If you’re playing professionally and you have a desire to move up or improve, you should be doing everything within the scope of your control to do so.”
Given the unpredictable nature of both the NHL and AHL seasons, Grumet-Morris is only concentrating on preparing as best he can for whatever the 2012-13 campaign throws at him.
“I’m looking forward to being back in Florida’s organization, competing for a job, and continuing to improve. Those are the most basic goals but you try not to get too specific because the hockey season never runs as scripted. You can’t predetermine what’s going to happen. You can only go out there and control the things you know you can control and then from there, you hope that good things happen.”