Instead of doing the normal conditioning routine he had done every other off-season of his career, Predators enforcer Brian McGrattan decided to change it up this summer.
“I wanted to do something else to bring some new life, a new spark to what I was doing,” he said.
Four days a week for two months, McGrattan strapped on boxing gloves to stay in shape for season. It was his first hands-on experience with boxing, as he trained at a mixed martial arts gym in Hamilton, Ont.
“It’s really hard at first, just getting the right technique. After doing it, it’s not as easy as people think,” McGrattan said. “It’s more conditioning than anything. My buddy who I was training with is a really intense guy and he pushed me. The octagon with my trainer for four and a half minutes straight is pretty grueling.”
His days consisted of boxing in the morning and skating in the afternoon. The six-year NHL veteran was surprised by some of the physical toll boxing takes.
“I didn’t know it was more of a legs and abs workout than arms. Lots of legs, lots of abs, lots of core. I was really sore for about the first week,” he said.
Normally, McGrattan can be found dropping his gloves and going toe-to-toe against fellow NHL enforcers. Aside from the conditioning part of it, he hopes his fighting technique was improved in the process.
McGrattan said, “I learned about punching the right way and developed more power to my punch.”
More power to McGrattan’s punch? This coming from a guy who, according to HockeyFights.com, won five of his six fights as a Predator last season.
McGrattan mentioned that he would like to keep boxing as a part of his off-season training regimen in the coming years. But that wasn’t the only thing he was up to this summer.
First, he was re-signed to a one-year contract by the Predators in July.
“Being able to come back to a place that I love, I didn’t want to go anywhere else. It went down to crunch-time there but I’m glad it worked out,” said McGrattan, who was claimed off waivers by the Predators last October and played in 30 games.
Shortly after being signed, McGrattan got married in Miami, Fla.
“That was probably the best moment of my life. It was great, it was fun,” he said. “It was good to kick back on the beach, too.”
McGrattan returned to Nashville earlier this month and has been participating in the on-ice workouts with teammates during the lockout. He mentioned he went fishing this week and caught an 18-pound striped bass.
“I wouldn’t mind doing that every once in a while, just to kick back and not think about anything. It’s nice and relaxing and peaceful; takes the mind off a lot of things,” he said.
As he stays in Music City while waiting for the NHL to end its lockout, McGrattan hopes to do some things around town that he wouldn’t be able to enjoy when the season is in session.
“I’d like to go to a college football game in the next week or two; I’ve never been to one of those before,” he said.
You won’t find him boxing during the lockout, though, as he will keep that primarily for off-season training.
“I got a lot out of it,” he said. “I wish I had done it before.”