Image via Jonas Siegel’s Twitter account
It took less than an hour for the first Toronto Maple Leafs’-related controversy to manifest itself out of Marlies camp this morning. Nazem Kadri, who spent all offseason with Gary Roberts, underwhelmed in Dallas Eakins’ physical tests to start off camp.
Per Jonas Siegel:
Kadri didn’t exact blow away the competition in on-ice testing. D’Amigo and Deschamps far stronger in the final test.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) September 28, 2012
Siegel also quotes Dallas Eakins as saying that “His body fat today is probably in the bottom three to five guys in our whole camp and that’s unacceptable.”
But this isn’t a huge, huge problem. For now.
“You will see immediately who the fittest players are and who had the nicest summer. These tests are something, like I said, we’re going to try them, they might work out great. It’s something that I believe in and hopefully something that will carry on long into my future with the testing.
“And then again, they might suck. We might not get the data that we want and we’ll have to tweak ’em. So I’m going to try it, but I’m never going to fall into this old adage thinking that you know ‘this is the only way you test hockey players’ I’m always looking for new ways to do it.”
So either the testing, or Kadri’s results are going to be tweaked.
For Kadri, he spent the summer with Roberts in his fitness program and maintaining a rigorous diet. For the uninitiated, just think a lot of beans and a lot of quinoa. The camp itself is just as rigorous.
According to journalist John Matisz, who described the camp in some detail when outlining the steps Belleville Bulls’ prospect Brendan Gaunce went through in his draft season, the camp consists of four weight lifting days and two cardio days, to “present future NHL stars with an all-encompassing platform where they’re able to get the most out of their bodies over a long term,” 
The camp is geared towards fitness, but also endurance and durability to keep players healthy for the longest time. After one day of testing, I think that the point of the camp isn’t so that Nazem Kadri is the first out of the starting blocks on Day 1 of hockey, but so that he hasn’t lost a step by Day 100 or Day 150.
“What I try to emphasize to these guys is that it doesn’t happen over one summer. My mission statement is that I had longevity through a lot of challenges. My goal is to hopefully help these young players avoid the challenges I had, but still have that ability to have longevity,” Gary Roberts is quoted as saying. 
“When you are riding the bike every day or running on the treadmill with a mouthpiece in your mouth it’s a whole different story.
“I’ve put on four or five pounds,” he said. “I’m at 185-186 pounds. I wanted to make sure I was lean and fast. My lower body explosiveness is hands-down a lot better.”
In many ways Kadri’s whole summer will be measured in fitness tests. Should he be declared one of the fitter Marlies, he will have delivered solid evidence of his readiness before a skate hits the ice.
There is one caveat.
“To be honest after these tests are done I might treat myself to one burger,” he said. “We’ll see.”
This isn’t the worst case scenario for Kadri. It sounds like Eakins’ tests are quite new and deserve a bit of tweaking. This has yet to affect Kadri in a game situation.
**  – Quotes from Draft Year; Brendan Gaunce