March 22, 2011
The first-place Philadelphia Flyers have a lot going for them this season. An explosive offense. A veteran defense. The hunger to return to the Stanley Cup Finals. And, of course, a frozen beverage machine that churns out a magic Slurpee-like elixir that offers rapid recovery from nutrient loss.
While the notion of grown men inside an NHL locker room gleefully mixing flavors into a colorful swirl and sticking their heads under the sugar-coated spout is admittedly hilarious -- and yet oddly appropriate for the Broad Street Bullies -- the drinks have a practical and medicinal purpose.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the first-place Flyers frequently have a frozen beverage machine in their dressing room, filled with a concoction that "starts as a green-tea extract and comes in different fruit flavors" and that cools the body while replenishing nutrients.
For most, Gatorade can't replace the levels of sodium, potassium and magnesium, which can be added as a supplement to any given slush drink. The fact that the drink is frozen -- and not room temperature or a little cooler like Gatorade -- cools down the players' internal organs quicker.
That, in turn, reduces core body temperature, slows sweating and begins the healing and recovery process faster. If used during a game, as Boucher does during stoppages, it can make a big difference. Boucher typically will consume two cups per period during a home game and four in any given practice.
Flyers trainer and strength coach Jim McCrossin tells the paper that NFL Philadelphia Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder shared an idea for the frozen drinks "that he found in an Australian magazine about rugby." Just when you thought this story couldn't get any more random …
The downside to this innovative hydration method? The machine's too big to travel with, so the Flyers only use it at home. The upside? They're going to have home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Would brain freeze be classified as an "upper body injury" by the NHL?
OK, so the Flyers Freezies are not on par with the North Korean super drink that multiplies brain cells and reverses aging. But, in fairness, you can't eat that beverage with a straw spoon.