Movement – Stretch Run

Islanders, St. Louis & Boston made recent changes behind the bench, these Three (3) teams let go of their head coaches, the hope of striking a spark remain the usual excuse and often it may function for a short or longer period of time, depending upon the quality of the dressing room depth. This will provide food for thought regarding other teams looking for a jump start, Tampa Bay had best turn it around or there could be a change there also, they are too deep to be where they are regardless if their Captain is out. No excuses. Washington Capitals have turned it up a notch and others are finding it more difficult to perform, why? Some teams are already at their high point of performance and will not be able to withstand the onslaught of those teams who will be all tightening up for the play-off stretch run. Look at the number of games remaining for each team and watch their performance especially when they hit the 20/25 game schedule left period. We have been waiting for this and now we are on the tip of separating the men from the boys.

Kitchen Table “Mothers still rule”! Who said athletes could not bring about change? Player Diversity has taken the NHL to another level of positive awareness! Moving from past events receiving racial slurs & banana tossing, to a high status of becoming simply Wayne Simmonds number 17, the hockey player of the Philly Flyers and youths arguing over his jersey. He just happens to be black by nature and player by choice. Hockey stardom Players are not the result of chance or as some say, always falling into the right place at the right moment, the majority of star players all have common points of value. Work ethic, pride in accomplishing the trust factors, leadership, including continued development of individual execution and awareness. However, this has a start from somewhere, the results are remarkable. Wayne Simmonds is the subject of this to-day, not because of his star status only but a result of observing a group of youngsters choosing teammates for a pick – up game, their conversation was well worth listening to, my youthful people knowledge improved from listening to these youths. They were arguing over who was to wear a certain jersey, one youth visibly upset over wearing the number 17, he said we agreed yesterday I could wear Simmonds jersey for today and next game it would be your turn, I looked and saw Simmonds on the back of the jersey, what amused me most, outside of a couple of players they were all white youths, they were not letting go easily of who would win the argument, one of the Black youths said, “maybe I should be wearing his jersey”, silence followed, then one of the youths said, no way, just because you are black does not give you the right to his jersey, he belongs to all of us, there was a loud response of positive on that remark, the black youth then replied, yeah… you are right. I’ll take Mitch Marner, good choice someone yells. Finally, they settled the disagreement and one player turned his jersey inside out, I looked closely at these youths, Crosby, McDavid, Toews, Matthews, Laine, Kane were all out there but there were 4 Simmonds jerseys, a young girl had a homemade microphone and served as announcer, “goal scored by number 17 Simmonds assisted by 87 Crosby. I moved on but with “who would believe this a few years ago”? Then I heard heyyyy.. Crosby does not retaliate he is disciplined now, your right Simmonds, sorry about that. A youngster arrives with a Subban jersey and he immediately started jubilating, I smiled and thought, darn these kids are hockey observant! I thought this was becoming more extinct. Wrong. These kids were paying attention to what the players were accomplishing positive or negative. Skin tone was of no importance to this group, their only concern was the hockey player, I shook my head thinking hummm…Wayne Simmonds. My mind trickled back to the banana incident received toward Simmonds and some of the ugly name calling often thrown out by some adults when discussing black NHL players. The actions of Wayne Simmonds transpired far beyond a hockey arena, his intelligent re-action to the racial incidents, his quiet demeanor approach when in public, humble, his dedication to improving as an athlete, more important his willingness to listen while thinking things out. Where did this come from? Of course, I had an inkling, the richness of “the kitchen table”, outdoor walks or trips to the store or arena, often provides an element of conversation where financial have or have not, has no bearing, only the words of family morals, ethics prime, how the family has a desire for you to carry yourself without expectations of perfection but to have understanding of the importance! We call it “Mom’s world”. You stand up when the battle is worth the effort, otherwise move on. Majority of star players possess the above, combined with a support group, they help also maintain the continued positive development performance factors. Wayne Simmonds is a product of such an environment, his mother provided the guidance in how she desired her son to understand behavioral values, morals, ethics, this transpired into Wayne Simmonds having the capabilities to improve as both an individual and a hockey player. Wayne did not talk back nor did his brothers, Wanda (his mother) would have none of that, he listened and knew this was a ritual as per many households for centuries, money may provide material things, proper guidance provides respect & a lifeline of less inter personal action problems. If you have no foundation, the more difficult the ascension to higher levels of execution and performance. After Mom, came his coaches and others, especially LA kings VP of hockey operations Mike Futa, who was his Gm in Junior hockey, this relationship is based upon a mutual respect camaraderie, then along came the very competent Eustace King as his agent. I must admit It is well known within many families of color the importance of that kitchen table sit down or the talks while out and about with Mom. To be honest I noticed this same intent with Mrs. Crosby, Syd the Kid’s mother. This leads us to events or other which can change the values and ethical viewpoint of individuals who may misunderstand how ridiculous prejudice may cloud their attitude toward different ethnic, religious groups or other. When individuals find out or accept they are issued really from the same pot, including aware of what a lack of proper information may bring, refusal to have an open mind to research the why of. When one is aware that climate simply made the difference for pigmentation, while environment formed the rest. This is why, when we question what another eat, their beliefs, dress code, language, likes and other, they are often doing the same with us, the only difference remain, education properly applied within any civilization, has an end result of less prejudice, including a better comprehension of differences, all this without using the ignorance of false pretense to having a higher standing within the vast world we live within. Education enlightens those who wish to learn and improve, you will always know ignorance by the mannerism & words individuals or groups pronounce, toward anything outside of their personal comfort zone, why? Ignorance breeds an isolation effect/affect, education provides freedom and a thought process of better understanding. Wayne Simmonds is living proof of College” Kitchen Table credits”! There is more to come for this young man, positive confidence values acquired through experience, equals poise and execution, thus elevation to even bigger and better things. Ever wonder if he were available, as if coming out of the KHL? I wager every team in the NHL would try to sign him. One point of note, his next contract will be worth a lot of $$$, will he return to Los Angeles or end up with the Rangers or stay put. Eustace King has probably already his figures in place for future negotiations. Wayne Simmonds will continue to play hockey and remain the same, everyone will continue to benefit. Quote: Ego recognition – “One individual advised all of his invitation to attend a function, another said nothing, why? It was announced by those extending the invitation”. Howie Meeker /md


			

Interesting – Price- McDavid-Gallant

Lots to talk about to-day, McDavid and Manning exchange of words, trash talking can become problematic when it crosses the line, has Donald Trump had an effect/affect upon hockey? Seriously the stars are the bread and butter of any league, maybe just maybe we will see a resurgence of the time and spacer movement. Touch our star player, expect a problem, redefine the instigator rule, this is the only way to have a certain control over of the attempts, giving the extra 2 Minute penalty to the cause of the altercation may be the solution.
Retrospect – Should we believe that Manning had injury as his thought process toward McDavid? No! If you look at the situation concerning McDavid injury last year, you will see opposing player has his left hand upon the right lower hip or high thigh of McDavid trying to gain an advantage, he releases, however McDavid’s balance has already been disturbed, the question should not have been, (if Manning) had intent to injure but what instigated the fall or loss of balance. There should have been a penalty on the play as there was hand interference, maybe viewing another angle provided a difference? Why bring it up? Past events often provide a resource for the future!
Carey Price in Montreal puts the blocker to New Jersey player, we called it fighting for his space back in the day. Players going hard to the net are taught this starting at an early age.
Wayne Simmonds of the Flyers, attention to detail make the player, this is nothing other than the continuation of his maturity over the past few seasons, why? The signs of steady performance improvement were already taking the forefront. Simmonds always prepared himself physically, the major difference came with his awareness of mental conditioning to application! This is what our youths need to hear more of from our athletes. “What made the difference”? when a successful player explains, youths pay attention.
Montreal Canadians are not only playing better hockey only due to Carey price, some merit has to go to their coaching staff & the approach improvement!
Patrick Laine is a better hockey player than many gave him credit for, many scoffed when my suggestion of his talent level was that of a number 1 draft pick, no disrespect meant toward Matthews, however Laine is more than a shooter and we could see this during his draft year. He is a more complete player than he was given credit for, how? His overall hockey awareness is notable.
Florida, a difficult situation, Gerard Gallant out and Tom Rowe in, the result of not finding common ground between management and Coaching staff. Coach made his thought process known and management took this as a revolt instead of sitting down and hashing it out, management took the usual route, get rid of the coach. Those within hockey circles understand whenever new management steps in, someone usually pays a price, first Dale Tallon moved to the armchair upstairs, new Gm takes over, new thought process, they already knew Gallant did not fit their picture of analytical first and foremost intent but the past season positive achievements made the situation difficult to make the change in the off season. Maybe it would have been better during off season to have the two sit down & part company by simply stating, here is the situation & the result. “Via mutual agreement we are both taking a different direction”, tell the truth and move on, both sides come out as a positive. Give Gallant an extra year full financial bonus to his actual contract for services rendered, end of story. They both learned from this for the future but in the present, will the team results be successful? Usually not when this happens over a difference of internal thought process. This will take some time.

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!