Today Patrick Kearns, a New York correspondent for The Fourth Period magazine, tweeted a simple quote from Mark Staal about playing with Dan Girardi:
It’s an obvious statement that shares the message coaches the world over have tried to drill through the thick skulls of players since their earliest days on the ice, yet one that seems to only get through to a select few: talk. Talk on the ice, talk, talk for the love of god. It is amazing what a difference it makes.
My college roommate shared a story with us about his junior days (we both had notoriously…aggressive, we’ll say? – junior coaches) about how he failed to call for passes too often for the coaches liking one practice, so he was made to sit in the penalty box and yell his own name on repeat. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s some meat to the cliché “hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard,” but it’s not to be taken at face value. It doesn’t always. An adorable team of eight-year-olds isn’t beating the Kings because LA isn’t trying, and less ridiculous examples happen with teams in the same league all the time. “You can’t take any nights off!” is patent coach-speak bullshit, because some teams can. Sometimes the Canucks put it in neutral, make a couple talented plays and beat the Blue Jackets who are going mach six. (Incidentally, one of the worst parts about being on a crappy team is having to go balls out to have a hope to win. It’s a grind.)
When it comes to player selection at hockey’s highest levels, minimal emphasis is put on effort. Like, minimal. Only the ridiculously skilled are good enough to make the NHL without max effort (though don’t kid yourself, some are), and even they can’t get away with not trying very often. Regardless, you take “ridiculously skilled” when it’s available. Alex Semin over Tim Jackman every day of the week, I’m sure you’d agree, and the latter out-works him by eleventy-thousand percent. Read the rest of this entry »
Most hockey people tend to get caught up on the big numbers. If a guy scores, he had a good game. If he goes pointless, he didn’t. Our performances are viewed by ourselves and others through the prism of our statistics.
However, there are some moments in a hockey game that not everyone will notice, but will make you smile. It’s a fast game, and there are plenty of little, satisfying things that can be used as mental salve when you go stat-less. Well, at least I pulled *that* off. I sort of helped.
Below are five of my faves – feel free to tack your own on in the comments. And yes, they’re mostly dirty plays (not dangerous ones), but whatever, they happen. Read the rest of this entry »
Pic by Kelly Stover. That person's cage by...GOD what is that?
I’m writing this post-rec hockey game with my regular collection of consumables nearby – a grape G2, a bag of pepper Spitz, and a water for when I house this G2 in a second, and I’m wondering what our team could have done to make the evening go a little smoother.
Don’t get me wrong: we won by roughly a thousand. They stopped putting goals up on the board in the middle of the second period. But it wasn’t fun.
The thing is, we didn’t play a bad team, we played a team shy on warm bodies. It was playoffs, and somehow they only managed to have five guys turnout.
I know playing without a single change sounds ridiculous to people who play rec hockey in other places, but this is Phoenix rec hockey – there isn’t a huge pool of players to draw from, so it’s not all that uncommon. Our team has won with five before. But our side had eight guys, and last night was never close.
SO: What’s appropriate blowout etiquette in rec hockey? What are you supposed to do when your team is so much better than the other team and the game is just for fun? You paid to get to play hockey, sure, but you don’t want to be a dick.
Read the rest of this entry »
The slapshot is kind of hockey’s version of the slam dunk, in that it can be glamorous, exciting, and authoritative. And like the dunk, if you go for it and fail, you look pretty pathetic.
All that is a nice way of saying “If you don’t have a slapshot, please, for the love of god, don’t wind up for four seconds, then come down with your blade open in hopes of getting the puck airborne.” There’s no shame in not having a slapshot, and there’s no shame in a wrister or snapshot.
Since the dunk is off-limits for 99% of people who play the sport, they rarely have people daft enough to try, the lucky bastards. They know they’re not going to suddenly gain an additional two feet of vertical via any method of training, so they put it out of their mind.
But the slapper is right there, always tempting the rec leaguer. So, let’s discuss it, so we can stop some of you from trying, and teach the rest to improve. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the reasons I like playing rec hockey these days is that there’s no coach on the bench to berate me when I make a horrible change. You get some teams (I’m told) where that’ll piss the players off, but fortunately for me, I do not (and likely wouldn’t) play for a team that serious.
But for those teams that are, here are the important things to note about the proper line change. (Note: this is mostly directed at forwards.)
The point itself shouldn’t need much explanation: forwards should come back to the puck when their defensemen have it so the defensemen have passing options, and their team can break out easier. You get the puck out of your own end, advance a zone, and start attacking.
Unfortunately, it seems that it does need some explaining.
The problem with coming back deep is that it’s A) rather un-sexy and B) takes more work. I mean, most rec hockey guys aren’t at the pinnacle of their fitness levels (two thumbs at self), so it’s easier just to have the D pass it up farther than having to come all the way back to their own end.
The “un-sexy” part, is that not many people get clean breakaways after diligently hustling back to provide puck support, which lets the opposing d-men keep you in front of them.
But I assure you: you will find the game far less frustrating, and have more success if you do it. Here’s five reasons it makes more sense than constantly “stretching” (floating): Read the rest of this entry »