Darryl Belfry helps train a lot of top NHLers in the offseason. Naturally that means his clients are already very good, and naturally he will praise them. Getting media helps the business.
That said, you might be pleased by his recent comments about a few key New York Islanders players.
On John Tavares returning from injury:
"I think this is the best John Tavares I've ever seen. I've been working with him for quite a while. He is in incredible physical condition.
His patterning of how he moves around and the ways in which he moves, and his skillset, and how in tune he is with who he wants to be as a player ... the time he had off he used very intelligently. I would be surprised if you didn't see him among the world's best on top of the scoring charts this year.
On Kyle Okposo, unprompted:
On top of that, I also think this is the best Kyle Okposo that I've seen as well, and so that combination is going to be -- I mean there were times that I thought the Tavares-Okposo combination was among the best if not the best in the league last year -- and I see them taking another big step forward."
The full interview is available at TSN here (h/t to @Hope_Smoke, who calls attention to and tweets a ton of radio highlights) and is a pretty interesting discussion of offseason training overall.
The Toronto-centric interview focuses on David Clarkson and how the skills Belfry is interested in honing -- movement patterns, skating efficiency -- aren't things the team coaches are likely to address during the season. He expects Clarkson to have a bounce-back year.
But for Islanders fans, it was the aside that warms the heart. While it's good S.O.P. to be skeptical of every "best shape in my life" preseason comment, these are nice things to hear about the two most important Islanders players as they hit their respective primes.