Rangers

New York Rangers, head coach Alain Vigneault has per his usual never strayed from his desire to having speed along with execution, the Rangers added more speed this year and of course they can hurt you with the style of play their coach desires to have them play, they may be silent and in a workhorse mode where they are not having success and their goaltending is the only wall standing, when suddenly lightning strikes, and the adversary find themselves down by a couple of goals. They come at you in waves and their rattlesnake attack can be deadly. Having known this coach as a young man in Major Junior, his players have always played hard for him, contrary to an unemployed Ron Wilson who at times had a vinegar tongue with poor taste of jokes and attitude, Vigneault has a knack of laying the hammer down while understanding a gesture of intelligence via a joke or softness which players appreciate! This alone is an art and not given to all. This is why he is still running a bench and quite well we must add!

Are we missing something!

Many discussion have been tossed around concerning actuality of the game, we are well aware of the continued player size differences over decades, the physical strength improvement due to training methods which has transferred into players now faster, bigger and more. Not overlooking modern technology in regard to game preparation. Look at the defensive players now having a much more longer reach, better edge work. For some reason no one is pushing for change to the main area where the game has not followed, the ice surface width and length. If we notice how much of a difference concerning players, all due to size, strength plus speed & skill, would it not be normal to expect some adjustment to providing them a little more room to execute over the whole ice surface? Thus avoid some injury and not take away anything from the spectacular intent of the game. These athletes are playing on the same size rink as their ancestors, go figure?

Max – You have now received your benediction as a true Montreal Canadian Player.

Max Pacioretty after a 10-0 defeat versus Columbus meets with the media post game. He simply assumed his role as captain, anyone notice? A few other often mentioned leaders were invisible. Fast forward, after a recent home game versus Carolina he was chosen the third star, Pacioretty after a pause arrives, does not step all the way upon the ice surface while waving to the crowd. His explication although somewhat confusing still deserves to be accepted or at least given a benefit of doubt, why? There is no history of lacking fan respect nor management during his stay with the Canadians, he has been booed, media has upon occasion given him a difficult time, his contract $ amount may not be where it should be considering his goal scoring and minutes played before start of this season. However, no outbursts or questionable wording toward anyone. This is why there should be no questioning of his integrity in regard to this matter.

PK – Versus Blues your wrong!

Generally, we avoid commenting a play, however, some events we have to address, PK Subban had a desire to win, his approach was clouded by not grasping there are times when we may accomplish more, by doing less!
Nashville versus St. Louis tonight, 3rd period 1 -1 game with less than 12.00 minutes to go, however, A). when a right hand shot D man on their strong side in offensive zone. receives the puck from low to high. B). Decides to move his feet & swing across blue line to find some open ice & create movement, all good so far!
C). Where the confusion arrives remain the decision making after, the lack of ice surface awareness to the top of circles & dot areas, coaches advise or should their D’s, upon this type of situation to understand the time & score of the game, if there is an East/West movement by a D he has to understand there are already 5 opposing jerseys inside the blueline and in defensive mode, at least 3 will be inside the dots low protecting the middle and possible shot blocking, also you will have teammates inside those dots or near! Note the other 2 forwards on the opposition will be heading inside also, maybe late as you have beaten maybe 1.
D). Your responsibility is to get inside dot as quickly as you can, one step & shot, if no possibility the puck goes to the weak side corner for a snooker play, (bank off the wall) for the forward heading toward that area either coming down or moving over. What transpires after? The other D man is already sliding to middle toward weak side, there should be a forward taking your position & ready to move down if snooker play happens, usually he is coming halfway in case of, using the & top of circle lined up with dot area as a guide. (If you watch the game tape you will see he was moving down, good read by him, poor execution on your part). This is not meant to insult you, however if it makes you use some thought process, the blog time would be worth it.
Immediately after the puck moving D either stops and gets his feet moving back or uses his edges for a quick couple of cross overs & after a stride or two, pivots backwards and gets back into defensive mode.
We help prepare our D’s within a similar manner even back in time, especially even more so since shot blocking has become an integral part of the game due to opposition collapsing and clogging the middle. This is how we address these situations. It may break down but decision making cannot be excused when it happens a few times, when a player makes poor decisions by trying too much, simply means he is not focused. He allows the heat of the moment to dictate instead of remaining poised and keeping his feet moving and eyes looking. Concentration should be upon creation via lecture and PK Subban has to understand this fact. You cannot create something unless you are within a position to create time & space to do so, where you were when the puck was turned over, regardless of how, you put yourself into troubled waters. Suggestion, next time adhere somewhat to what is conveyed above and all will be fine. Remember if you had simply taken one step inside with your head up, you would have never lost that puck. You would have had two options, shot for deflection or rebound or the snooker play. After you lost the puck where were you going? Too England behind the net, put on the brakes and get the heck back next time. You are too skilled and talented to not add hockey maturity to your game. How you take the suggestion remain your choice, most certainly you have to comprehend, “if there was no care for you”? I would probably be saying, to heck with it!

Hummm hockey world…

Dallas Stars when healthy are always an offensive threat, many discuss their areas of concern evolving around without the puck, maybe we need to pay more attention to when they have it within their own end, including how they lose possession. Positioning seems to be their main point of negative, the support roles are not executed per coaching staff requests, puck protection starts before we have it. When they comprehend this and prepare to listen more attentively to staff the more support they will receive from their goaltenders! The save % and goals against will change dramatically!
 
Coaches often due to a lack of information or ego, will at times overlook suggestions or possibilities to problem solving, taking drastic dictatorship methods does not always provide the desired return.

Coaches should not have to meet with media every day or post game, this should be designated to another person while the head coach should make maybe weekly media appearance. Both would have more pertinent detail of information to provide. Even the Prime Minister or President have an official to deal with the majority of press conferences!

Coaches should not have to intervene with individual players when it comes to performance factors unless the message has not been understood. Player development person should not be involved in this aspect as his role is already with a full plate. Why there is not a “full time trouble shooter” who reports directly to the head coach & Gm, with only responsibility to sit down with player and suggest this is what the coach & staff expects of you, he/she also explains the modalities liaison of becoming a player when drafted or acquired within a trade, maybe works with the unhappy “want more minutes or responsibility’. No orders or threats, just suggestion. Remember the player may be more comfortable speaking with an unattached person whom they know has only one role, to help them as an individual, this makes it a positive! The staff should not have to deal with player intervention outside of the practice, game and/or video preparation. This is 2016.

Evander Kane, it is not exactly wrong what he exposed but yes always a but, his timing and choice of whom he said it to remain the major problem. When we talk with media we have to expect consequences according to the commentary of the reporter interviewing or listening to the comment, Kane should not try to distract from the comment, simply say yes I said it, prove my comments wrong!

Why is Mitch Marner more appropriate at this time instead of Matthews in Toronto? Marner is more skilled & detailed due to his preparation, he also understands play away from the puck especially within his own zone, Matthews although talented, is simply not as well schooled at this time. There remains still a distinct difference between Canadian star mentality approach & others.

Maple Leafs provided a tough outing for Connor McDavid, Edmonton super star player, NHL family profits from marketing and one of its greatest assets remain the super star players, the fallout comes more so from these star players than others, everyone benefits, therefore, responsibility to protect its assets primes and McDavid is one, the mauling, clutch & grab applied by Kadri versus McDavid reminded us of the Toronto Maple Leaf 1960’s play. Arguably Kadri could have received multiple penalties. Gilles Tremblay or Claude Provost followed a certain protocol back in the day, Kadri maybe could benefit from watching how those two covered the past stars. Some blamed the coach for his lack of intervention, we may disagree with that, why?  The players saw what was transpiring, coach has a major responsibility during game action, get the appropriate players out at the right moment. Maybe he tried maybe he did not when it came to buying some time & space for McDavid.  McDavid may have to call in a special fighting trainer to permit him to throw if he has to, we call it taking care of business when necessity calls! His role is to play hockey but sometimes have to send a message. Mario, Gretzky and others have complained about this before. There is an art to shadowing another player, “majority” of those who accomplished this task did so with a pride of keeping it within the rules & regulations, even though they would occasionally follow the super star to his bench as an escort. To think coaches actually lost their jobs when they allowed their star player to be mauled way back when! Think about it coach as it could become reality once again, history has a way of suddenly appearing when we least expect it.

The influx of more highly educated players brings along with it, added responsibility to coaching staffs, expression comprehension has become a must, social media combined with media instant possibilities to diffusion of happenings has made it more of an educated approach intent. What & how coaches say something does have an impact with far more depth than ever before.

JUST A GAME – ”NO”.

Sports, we often hear it’s only a game, has to be fun, let’s explore hockey, when participants arrive to the top of their professional level or lower, receiving remuneration which SOME BELIEVE has a definition BEYOND REASONABLE payment or compensation received for services or employment.  This includes base salary and any bonuses or other economic intent during contract duration, all resulting from performance factors of skill, talent, AND character without overlooking winning! How many people do you know who may use as an excuse that phrase? How many employees can honestly say, you know this is only a past time, fun, I have other pre -occupations, work/business wise? In short pushing, somehow it is the responsibility of another or something, not you! Easy to find blame, no need to look for solutions this way. Ever hear? I am preoccupied with other avenues of intent? Have to hurry this morning, have a meeting or outing after practice? Geez, wish we did not have pre-game briefing this AM, I was up late last night but had a great meal, did you ever try this restaurant? We went out for a few pops after. Ohhh no… not him, darn reporter just took me off my game with his article “yesterday”. Coach is pushing too hard, not my fault, I had my man!   Don’t worry I will be ready come game time, it’s just a game boys, remember that. Just a few of the comments coaches, management, owners & fans hear. Athletes sign contracts, their job DESCRIPTION evolves around their potential production, including ability to perform within areas of concern which may vary according to personal or team strengths and/or weakness! People pay to see them perform, some even become close to idol status, others are often role models to youths, if they like it or not! No, this is not simply a game, it is a business which employs people, also provides others hope & ambition to preparation, have some scout or team decide they may have potential thus draft or sign them. What do you want to be when you grow up? Some will say a Lawyer, Doctor, CPA, Teacher, Biologist, Fireman or Police officer, others will say baseball, football, basketball or hockey player.
Fun games, even for children have consequences & expectations, it is fun when you are not under restrictions other than to have enjoyment! Often, it is within a pretense mode, they try to emulate a professional athlete’s skill, talent, become PART of THIER favorite team and more. They either have to pay to play (ice rental or minor hockey participation) or create free outdoor ones with friends as a hobby. They pick players, why? The desire to win is the pay check for youths. Quietly, Passion replaces the once a week event, thus it becomes automatically fun to dream while preparing hopefully to have just one opportunity as they grow in age & maturity.
All this to remind all, the next time you hear a professional athlete talk about fun, ask if they will play for nothing? Not have an agent? Pay to play? In short, the game does not have to provide them fun, however, the individual decision regarding personal choice of employment which may be considered fun, is a bonus. to have fun while applying to accomplish a job to the best results possible will always be a personal responsibility! Humans have to survive, good choices & willingness to understand situations are more important than just having fun, ask a person why are you drinking alcohol or taking this or that? They usually at the beginning will tell you because they like it and are having fun.
PS: Some players said/say when they are not having fun anymore they will walk away, how come they usually cry or are saddened when they have to step away from the game?  
 
Challenge breeds competition. Athletes enjoy this challenge and the challenge quickly evolves into the love of money and notoriety. This is why they cry when they retire, the challenge will no longer be there and so will its trappings. Of course the usual friendships and other areas of the game have some merit.

Kaepernick – Pick up the ball – carry it all the way!

Football player and Black activist, Colin Kaepernick did not apply his right to vote, how can you have a stance then lack respect for your fellow black, brown culture? Including those who supported them. He showed a complete ignorance toward Women, children, men who fought so diligently, suffered lynching, beatings, dogs unleashed upon them while trying to obtain voting rights amongst other civil rights issues. Women as an example (black) were unable to vote until the Sixties. Minorities still facing other attempts to making it the most difficult to vote. Kaepernick, adopted by a Caucasian family who most certainly did not always have respect thrown at them for doing so. They did not let anything stop them, they provided love, care plus opportunity to him, “democracy” provided them the right to adopt legally a black child. He also by his attitude overlooked some of the other less fortunate youths who were not adopted, going from family to family or receiving unjust, hash conditions because of their skin tone, often receiving little support from social workers, hence possibly a less brighter eventuality than his! Shame on Kaepernick. He should have been one of the forefront individuals pushing for those eligible, to vote!

Torts & His Vocabulary

Take a deep breath and be careful before we all jump upon Tortorella, considering him a racist or anything similar, why? Many to-day are unaware of what players of color were really called, as an example someone mentioned Valmore James. We should remember not too many over 70 year olds or more, who were involved in the game at a time when you could be attacked while walking to the arena door, without any form of support other than your teammates, players, staff, ownership & even then at times questionable. The objective is not to discuss personal happenings, it is to enlighten about Tortorella & his comment! Many remain simply unaware of micro aggression or how words may be perceived according to different ethnic or cultural groups. This does not make it correct, however, it does not make him a racist either, just someone in need of a better vocabulary expression. I am not defending him, he can do this himself and should. I need to make it clear “I” have heard animal over an over, during multiple decades and this hurled toward Caucasian tough guys or want to be ones, word of note – I never used this terminology but many other coaches did. I have challenged at times players, under the heat of the moment! I simply paid attention to my terminology effect/affect. Tortorella’s remark this time was versus a player of color and contrary to a Val James era, the social media technology is Omni present. I also must advise, because I actually scouted Val James for a possible trade inquiry when he was with the Remparts, I heard worse coming from his own fans who thought they were funny or paying him some kind of tribute, when I would address this, many would say, we did not mean anything by it, you are right it is wrong while others simply scoffed and yelled louder racist insults at him. Ever hear? ” Work like a N” (Travailler comme un negre). This was popular for quite a few coaches back in the day both French & English. Some even had black or bi racial players in the room. Some coaches due to a lack of education may never have given a second thought to the expression as an insult, why? It was something they considered maybe just a phrase handed down! Hummm.. What I am trying to convey, remain the same as I mention during speaking engagements, education provides quicker evolution, how? By better understanding before moving on to application. No one really had a full grasp of comment ” the white way” by D. Pang, he corrected with “right way” but we knew where the mindset was, I was happy he said it, we should all be, why? It is a thought process which many have. Bringing it to light only helps to draw attention, thus the possibility of positive discussion in regard to who and how, “one should act as a hockey player or coach”. There are many issues overlooked and this for all players regardless of their skin tone or cultural background, all due to lack of comprehension. As a former coach I have met and talked with Tortorella as I have with majority of the NHL coaches, I honestly do not believe any of them may be racist nor lacking tolerance, some may lack diversity education but the puck stops there!

Which one are you

Super stars have one point in common named preparation & execution, this also has one supporter called true passion but it has one hic, there is not much room for anything else! However, we can identify the best as they possess this aspect. There are those who are willing to listen and adhere without becoming lost during their journey & others who could not find it even if you guided them by trying to hold their hand. They are satisfied with less, yet tell all how much passion they have for the sport, which is similar to a married man telling his wife how much he loves her, then going out to meet with his girlfriend as soon as he leaves the house. Some athletes simply do not understand the importance of priorities, the true super stars all have a full grasp of how they arrived including how to maintain and improve, first and foremost upon their primary employment obligations. Nothing wrong with chasing more dollars and/or having outside activities, as long as it does not take away from, “what provided the opportunity”, to entertain those other avenues! Super stars are such because they apply more than words to a passion, right or wrong this is the price you pay, some simply are content thinking they can turn the switch on and off, those are the false prophets of super stardom.

Preparation

One thing all athletes must comprehend, know who your opponent is, Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup last season, you may bet your bottom dollar Coach Mike Sullivan knew more about his opponents than anyone may ever imagine, Scotty Bowman became a hockey legend because of this aspect, long before they had instant video replay or multiple assistant coaches, Bowman ran his bench according to his astute knowledge of the adversary, he completed his strategy by understanding the vital clicking points of his team components. The super star players will amaze you with their knowledge of the adversary, their ability to use lecture during a match to obtain the maximum out of their ice presence. Never overlook hard & fast is not enough, however, the team which aligns the highest number of players who execute by attention to detail will always be more successful than others over a longer period of time. We simply need to observe the young guns coming into the league. The NHL including hockey in general can never thank Sydney Crosby enough, he changed the game approach as did the greatest of them all, Bobby Orr before him, each within a different manner. Crosby does not “yet” receive the real credit due, far too many simply see his on ice game exploits, they are similar to someone reading a book but overlooking the message.