Commodore doing summer workouts in MoorheadMOORHEAD, Minn. — Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Mike Commodore never felt right on the ice last season.
By: Heath Hotzler, Forum Communications Co.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Mike Commodore never felt right on the ice last season.
The former University of North Dakota standout’s hardcore offseason workouts left his legs heavy and turned him into the type of player he never wanted to be.
He was big and slow.
Not good when you’re chasing around skilled NHL offensive talent like Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla.
“It was awful,” Commodore said Aug. 6 “To be honest, it was a tough year from a personal standpoint.”
That experience caused Commodore, known for his fiery red hair and sharp sense of humor as much as he is for his grit and toughness on the blue line, to try something new.
Well, more like something old that’s new again.
After almost a decade away, Commodore has returned to Moorhead for offseason workouts with Frank Burggraf.
He can be found most weekdays doing the Burggraf ISO program at the Moorhead Sports Center.
Commodore, 31, is doing speed workouts on the ice, light weight training and a yoga-like stretching cool down in a dark room over the Sports Center’s second rink.
It’s a far cry from the three-hour power weight lifting routines Commodore was firing off last offseason.
“I don’t want to pump up my own tires, but I’ve always been a guy who works hard in the summers,” said Commodore, who is heading into his 10th NHL season. “I tried something to switch it up a little bit. It was hard work and I didn’t skate much. … I was basically doing over 1,000 reps a day throughout the whole three hours. I just didn’t have the energy during the season.”
Commodore’s second season with the Blue Jackets started terribly. He suffered the first groin injury of his career in the season’s first exhibition game and things “spiraled out of control from there.”
Commodore finished with two goals and nine assists in 57 games. His 11 points was his lowest output since he didn’t score a point with Calgary in 12 games in 2003-04, and it was a 13-point drop off from his first season in Columbus.
So he decided to go back to an offseason workout he knew could get him back to his form of two years ago.
Commodore said he worked with Frank Burggraf during his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Sioux.
“I think I made the right decision coming out here,” said Commodore, who lives in British Columbia, Canada. “I’ve felt better skating this week than I did at any point last season. When I want to go I can go.”
The Blue Jackets failed to make the playoffs with a dismal 32-35-15 record last season.
However, Commodore said the team should be improved thanks to an up-tempo game brought in by new head coach Scott Arniel.
“I think it looks good,” he said. “I think last year was a learning experience. It was definitely a learning experience for me. I think the young guys had to learn that you have to work hard to get to the NHL, but you have to work even harder to stay there.”
Hotzler is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.