Toronto Marlies Coach Criticizes Nazem Kadri’s Physical Shape
Nazem Kadri. (Getty Images)
By Tony Ambrogio (@SNTonyAmbrogio)
“His body fat today is probably in the bottom three to five guys in our whole camp. That’s unacceptable.” -Toronto Marlies coach, Dallas Eakins.
First it was his attitude. Then his poor play away from the puck. Now it is his diet. Nazem Kadri continues to frustrate Toronto Maple Leafs management.
And if Kadri is serious about his hockey career, he better get serious about his diet, says Toronto Marlies coach Dallas Eakins.
“The one thing Kadri has to improve is his eating habits,” said Eakins after the AHL team conducted fitness testing on Friday. “His body fat today is probably in the bottom three to five guys in our whole camp. That’s unacceptable. That’s the easiest part coming into camp is eating correctly and training correctly. I think he’s probably improved a little bit on the ice. His diet is not where it should be.”
The soon-to-be 22-year-old Kadri – the Leafs first round pick in 2009 (7th overall) – defended himself. He said his body fat ratio was better than last year.
“It definitely could have been a little better; it’s definitely not bad,” said Kadri as he met the media. “The way I’m carrying myself on the ice, I feel stronger. Even that body fat did drop down from last year.”
“You make your choice,” said Eakins. “You can either go sit on the couch, put your feet up and have a bag of potato chips or you can go on the couch and put your feet up and grab some carrots and some apples.”
Eakins added: “It takes time. You’ll see guys, they’re young, they’re still kind of in the junk-food mode and they’ll eat whatever they can. And then there’s other guys as they mature they understand the importance of their nutrition.”
“It’s just not Nazem Kadri, it’s just about every one of our young players. They come out of junior, they get on that bus and they have Snickers bars. Mom and Dad aren’t looking over your shoulder anymore.”
“I’m a pretty picky eater. I don’t like too many things,” said Kadri. “The squash and the spinach, these healthy dressings you’ve got to put on your salad, I’m not a huge fan of. I learned these are the things I have to put in my body. As time goes on, I’m sure my taste buds will react positively.”
“You’re a professional athlete. You have to look after what you’re putting in your body,” said Eakins. “You can put the high-octane gas in your car and it will go great. If you go urinate in your tank, your car is not going very far. It’s the same with your body. Put good fuel in, you’re going to go further. Put junk in, you’re done.”
What makes this exchange even more interesting is that Kadri spent the summer working with Gary Roberts, the retired NHLer who runs fitness and nutrition programs in the Toronto area. Steven Stamkos and Jeff Skinner are among the NHLers who have worked with the one-time Maple Leaf.
“There’s no way I could have gotten through these tests like I did [without Roberts’ help,]” said Kadri. “It brought me a long way. For the most part, I did very well. I’m happy with where I am. I’m happy with my conditioning. My lower body feels strong. I just can’t wait to translate that into game form.”
Roberts has been critical of the conditioning of other Maple Leaf players in the past, so is it possible the comments made by Eakins are his way of getting back at him?
And why would Eakins make this so public? Have the Leafs tried to get his attention behind closed doors and it isn’t working?
“I’m still a young guy, I’m slowly learning how to be a pro and what types of food to put in my body,” said Kadri
The Leafs hope he figures it out soon.