Posts Tagged ‘WHL’
Last night I went and checked out the Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes game. Kelowna had lost the night before to Chilliwack and was looking to get back in the win Kelowna. The Hurricanes are sitting on the outside looking in on the playoff picture and need to pick up points wherever they can get them. Even if that means on the road against the top team in the BC division.
Checking out the visiting roster before the game I noticed the Lethbridge goalie Anderson, I think that was him name, had 14 penalty minutes. Either this guy has trouble playing the puck or he loses his cool from time to time.
So Kelowna would do well to put pressure on the Lethbridge d-men and get in Anderson’s face.
The game was 4-2 half way through the third when the Hurricanes got within one of the power play.
But after a bit of a delay the goal was disallowed as a delayed penalty for spearing against the ‘Canes was to be called at the next stoppage. This next stopage ended up being Lethbridge’s 3rd goal which was called back.
Instead Kelowna ended up with a double minor power play and Wudrich buried one in the slot to make it 5-2.
This all but ended the ‘Canes chance at a comeback.
But it’s also where the visitor’s became totally unravelled.
Rich Preston, the Lethbridge coach, wanted to share a few of his thoughts with the refs. The coach then proceeded to throw everything that wasn’t bolted down on the visiting bench onto the ice.
The Lethbridge players got in on the act as well throwing all the water bottles, clip boards and gatorage jugs onto the ice.
One of the key Lethbridge forwards was thrown out of the game.
After the final horn a Hurricane player skated to center ice and tapped his stick on the ice in mocking acknowledgement of the officials.
So what’s the point of this whole story?
It’s that there has to be a culture of respect on your team.
It’s that this culture is established at the top and trickles down to the captains, assistants, over age players and to the young guys.
And unfortunately the culture that Preston has established in Lethbridge is not a good one. It is not a winning one. And it is not one that should continue.
Regardless of whether a team is having success or not you want to be able to stay in control of your emtions.
You want to put your energies and efforts on achieving team established goals and tactics.
You want to make decisions that set a good example.
And you want to do things that allow everyone underneath the coach to quickly and easily know and understand what their culture is all about.
Now when you look back and recall the penalty minutes the Lethbridge goalie has amassed this year it all makes sense. He is simply following the example that has been set for him.
Unfortunately it is a bad example and will lead to an early end to the Hurricanes season. And as long as Preston stays on as coach of this team there will be going nowhere.
In the last post I looked at how Tyson Barrie will do at the World Junior Hockey tournament. For this one we’ll head south of the border to see how Mitchell Callahan will do with the USA.
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One thing I really enjoy about my job is being able to see the impact it has on a player’s game. While a player may make huge gains in the weight room and put up some impressive lifts this can be all for naught if in the end the player isn’t performing when the puck drops on a new season. I feel privileged to be able to watch the hockey players we work with during the 0ff-season play during the year. From spending a couple hours almost every day with these players I know their strengths, the weak links they worked hard to address, their work ethics, their attitudes and every else that is important to success in hockey. And once a player moves on to the next level I may make a trip to catch some of their games and see how everything is going. Recently I had chance to sit down and grab some breakfast with one of these hockey players that has moved on from the WHL and is now playing in the AHL.
After spending some time catching up and sharing stories I asked this player what he thought was one of the biggest differences to jumping fromt the ‘dub’ to the AHL. There are lot of things that he could have said from the speed of the game, to the age of the players, to the amount of travel or the amount of preparation that goes into every game. But here’s what he said.
The biggest difference he noticed at the next level was the attention the veteran players put on their preparation. Whether it be proper dynamic warm-ups, to foam rolling to adequate cool down and regeneration after games and practices there was a significant difference at this next level. Players recognize and put more attention in the soft-tissue work that helps keep everything in alignment, keeps what should be mobile, mobile and keeps what should be stable, stable. In other words these players had figured out that the best way to get your body prepped for top performance and to recover most quickly was by doing the little things. Gone are the days of playing sewer ball and singing in the showers as a pre-game ritual. Now it was seeing what is going on at the next level, modelling those who are having success and reaping the rewards as a result.
Cody Almond – Minnesota Wild
***Update to this story. Since we had that breakfast Cody Almond has been on a tear in the AHL. This hasn’t gone with out notice by the Minnesota Wild and today Cody was called up to make his NHL debut.***
Sometimes it’s hard to see where all the little things factor in to the game of hockey especially when it involves something done off-ice. So whenever you have the chance to see a player up a level doing the little things pay attention and look to see how you can incorporate this into your routine.