Amongst New York Rangers fans Wojtek Wolski has become one of the more divisive figures in that there is a section that believes in the talent and hopes he can put it together in consistent fashion while the other side is counting the days until he is gone. To his credit Wolski is doing everything he can this summer in order to have the besdt season he can for the Rangers. Earlier this summer he was working with skating wizard Barbara Underhill and now according to Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star Wolski is working with skill development guru Jari Byrski.
Byrski has the respect of stars around the league and during Wolski’s time there he was joined by Jason Spezza (OTT), Mike Cammalleri (MON) and Jeff Skinner (CAR), which is certainly an excellent group to be associated with. In the past Steven Stamkos has worked with Byrski, starting at age 8, and lauds the things training with him can for a player.
He’ll ask players to stickhandle with everything from a golf ball to a puck that weighs twice the regulation six ounces. His most advanced charges toe-drag and zigzag through complicated gauntlets of pylons and pucks and stick shafts. Stamkos, who can currently make an argument that he’s the best player in the world, calls some of Byrski’s drills “almost impossible to do.”Byrski, who has inspired a number of imitators, says he designs his programs to stretch his students’ limits; musicians, he points out, often spend hours doing exercises they’ll never perform in concert.But the appeal of his approach goes beyond drills. Stamkos says Byrski’s best trick is building confidence in young hopefuls. He does that, in part, by bellowing enthusiastic, if spare, praise. He’s also been known to interrupt a class to demand that a school-aged player sing, preferably loudly, in front of a group of peers. (Stamkos remembers belting out his share of Britney Spears and Spice Girls).
There is no guarantee that working to any number of specialist trainers will change Wolski during the season, but it is a great sign that is trying everything to gain the most of his tremendous skillset. Many have written him off as a possibility, but Wolski is the best player on the roster, in terms of skills, to play with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. This is yet another sign of why Rangers fans should be excited for the season as a confident and motivated Wolski gives the team another weapon to lengthen their lineup and make training camp decisions even tougher.