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Arizona Coyotes have home workouts during NHL coronavirus pause

(L-R) Lawson Crouse #67, Derek Stepan #21, Jakob Chychrun #6, Phil Kessel #81 and Alex Goligoski #33 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrate after Kessel scored a goal against the St. Louis Blues during the third period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on December 31, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Most of the Coyotes players are still in Arizona while the coronavirus pandemic has put the NHL season on pause. But despite the players mostly being in close proximity to the team facilities, social distancing policies have prompted players to change the way they stay in shape.

“It’s been difficult,” GM John Chayka said. “Obviously it’s a challenging time in that regard. We’re doing what we can. Every player has an individual program that our strength staff’s put together for them. We’ve kind of taken stock of what they have at home. Everyone has a different setup. Some guys are lucky enough to have a home gym. Some guys have a great backyard, they [have] a lot of different opportunities to do some different types of training.”

The NHL suspended its season indefinitely the morning of what had been a scheduled home game against Vancouver on March 12.

Chayka said the team has since sent workout equipment to players’ homes in a safe and sanitized way so they could stay in shape. It’s not clear when the NHL season will resume, if at all, but the hope is to be ready for that if it happens. The workouts also help players keep a routine.

“They’re so regimented in their life when they’re here and in their offseasons, even, where they get up at a certain time, they eat certain things, they have certain regimens in terms of their training, skating, things like that,” Chayka said. “It’s easy when there’s a bit of unknown here to slip from that. So just trying to help each guy understand what the routine could be and making sure that they stick to it, have some discipline.”

Oliver Ekman-Larsson said last week that he’s been running a lot. Derek Stepan happens to have a home exercise bike.

“I’ve been doing a lot of home workouts,” Stepan said. “I actually have a Peloton bike so I’ve been hammering the Peloton really hard, just trying to do anything you can to get good sweats in and work those lungs the best you can. But there’s plenty of stuff that you can do at home and I’ve actually found a pretty good groove of just kind of mixing in as much of strength stuff as I can and doing home workouts on the Peloton.”

Head coach Rick Tocchet said he believed Michael Grabner — a known fitness fanatic who has a home gym — had made his gym available to teammates if needed. Stepan wasn’t sure that any players had gone over there to take advantage as players do home workouts. Stepan said he even got out for a hike. Tocchet has taken up rollerblading.

“You’ve got to get out there and move around,” Tocchet said. “Guys are going for runs, they’re exercising. Our strength coaches have delivered equipment to some guys’ homes that are in town. I think that’s important. The mental part and the physical part’s important for our team during this time, for sure.”

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