Winning is good business for an NHL team, but when it comes to their minor league affiliates, does winning matter, or is the important thing how you play the game? Both matter, according to Brad Treliving, NHL Coyotes Assistant GM and AHL Portland Pirates GM. Success is an important part of the development process for a player.
This week, Treliving described the role that his AHL team plays:
We look at the American Hockey League really primarily as a development league. So we try to put as many of our younger players down there as we possibly can, and expose them to … playing a lot, you know, getting into critical situations … You see in the American League in some cases … there are some veteran players and we try to have a couple of those guys for leadership and whatnot. But primarily it’s our young players playing in key roles and key situations and learning how to play against men and learning how to play the pro game. (more…)
2013 will see a few NHL teams going to the playoffs for the first time in a long time. As the season went along, they talked about the novelty of playing “meaningful games” down the stretch. The Phoenix Coyotes are not playing games like that right now. They haven’t been since they lost to Detroit last Monday.
The Coyotes had three games to play after they were eliminated from the playoffs. They won the first against San Jose, lost the second against Colorado, and will play one more on Saturday in Anaheim. Are such games meaningless? Coyotes Captain Shane Doan doesn’t think so:
You love to play, … you love to compete, I don’t care what you do, you’re going to try to find a way to win… You love to compete, and then on top of that my favorite thing to do is play hockey. Put those two together and it’s pretty easy to come up with a reason to go out there and try to perform and … give the best you can because you love the game and it’s so much fun to play.
For some players these games are a chance to prove their value before negotiating new contracts. Some need to earn a spot on next year’s roster. Those factors don’t change because the team missed the playoffs. (more…)
The other day I went to talk to a hockey team. I didn’t have any particularly clever questions to ask. I’ve learned that if you start with some clever angle, the person you are talking to will invariably derail your plan, since you are probably starting with flawed assumptions. So I just ask basic things and try to go from there. I didn’t have to go very far, everyone I talked to gave me plenty of words to take away and work with.
That dazzles me. I walk in, I hold out my little recorder, and these guys freely give me their words to use. Their words are infinitely more valuable than my own words, and they just hand them over. (more…)
Of acquiring Raffi Torres and his reputation, Wilson commented:
With Ryane moving on to New York, having that physical presence is very important.
Interestingly, Wilson went on to compare Torres to Matt Cooke. Then he explained why fans will learn to like having him on their team… the way everyone likes Cooke? I think it is important to distinguish between forgiving and actually liking. It’s also worth noting that Matt Cooke hasn’t been traded, we have no idea how long it would take a 21st century hockey fan base to shift gears in his favor.
I know it’s just propaganda, just something teams say to ease one player out and another one in. They have to come up with something to tell the fans beyond “we had to do this because of contract limitations and league salary caps.” But saying that Raffi Torres can in any way make up for Ryane Clowe’s absence is laughable and insulting to any thinking, attentive Sharks observer. I guess that’s what Wilson is counting on, that most people are simply not very attentive to hockey in the West.
Is math happening to the Anaheim Ducks? Is their early success catching up to them, the same way they caught up to opponents in 14 games this season? Prior to last weekend, they were hard on the heels of Chicago. They had as many regulation wins as the super-streak record-breaking Blackhawks. There still isn’t a team in the Western Conference with a better chance of catching the Blackhawks, but Anaheim is losing ground.
Since defeating the Blackhawks last Wednesday, the Ducks have lost three in a row. What gives? Were they succeeding at an unsustainable level? Corey Perry admitted that it is possible, maybe the team was due to hit a rough patch:
There’s always peaks and valleys but we try to get over the valleys as quick as possible, and start climbing back in the right direction. That’s what we have to focus on.
That isn’t to say the team is comfortable with losing three in a row for the first time this season, as Perry explains: (more…)
I heard my grandmother’s voice in the darkness. It woke me up. It was about two am.While I was trying to decide if there was some cause for alarm, she continued:
“It’s going to be all right.”
I spent Friday night at my grandmother’s because she suffered a TIA Friday and was at the hospital until late. My parents had gone to be with her at the hospital, but the hospital wouldn’t admit her. By the time they got around to actually seeing her, she was very much recovered. Still, you don’t leave a 99 year old woman who just had a stroke alone the same night. None of us wanted to put her in skilled nursing that night, so I went and slept at her house, for whatever good that did. I sleep like the dead, I didn’t think anything would wake me short of a fire alarm. I was wrong. Her voice woke me.
I don’t know if she was talking in her sleep or hearing something that wasn’t there, but it is very hard to worry when she finishes with “it’s going to be all right.”
(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, March 16, 2013)
It is time to put down my talking stick and admit that I’ve taken up residence at the Cow Palace. It’s all good. If you have enough saddle blankets under the sleeping bag, the concrete floor isn’t too cold. No, no, no, I’m not working for the Bulls, I’m just haunting the old barn.
It’s been an improbable, enjoyable, unpredictable trip. If I hadn’t written down just about every thought I had along the way, I wouldn’t be able to remember where I started. Blogs are better than breadcrumbs, everybody should have one. Blogs don’t fall in a straight line, they twist and turn and sometimes retrace the path, sometimes hit a dead end. Sometimes a stray crumb points you in a new and exciting direction, sometimes your blood sugar is low and you have to eat it. (more…)