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Becalmed

The Flyers fought back after losing a 2 goal lead to beat the Habs 5-3.  It was splendid,  but I sort of knew they would do it.  They usually do.  Carter was absolutely magnificent, Bob was no slouch either.  Pronger went away with a lower body injury.  That is disappointing.  The team will have to be more consistent with him out.

They will do it.  They make due without key players all the time: old hat.  The odds are at least even that they can recover from a  2 goal deficit on any given day.  When they are down by a couple, I do not freak out.

Not so with the Sharks.  When they start to slip,  their recovery rate is not great.  Not great at all.  They do not seem to have the yeoman’s gift of quick mental recovery.  They can’t seem to kick themselves and get over it, NOW.

Every now and then I would like to hear two of the Sharks leaders and two really nice guys go off after a loss or bad stretch of games. I don’t doubt their passion to win or succeed, but once in a while I would like to hear some affirmation of that passion.  -Drew Remenda for the Broadcaster’s Blog

He means Thornton and Paddy.  I would not read too much into what they say publicly.  Some people just don’t share.  That is irritating and can be disheartening for fans and journalists, but it is not always indicative of inner drive or lack thereof.

That said, it would certainly be nice to hear more from people who are inclined to share.  Can we just talk to Boyle from now on?

While some silent types can be very effective individuals, they do not necessarily make great inspirational characters.  The Quiet Man can do a lot behind the scenes, but often a quick tongue is the best thing for rallying the troops.

A leader cannot be worried about alienating himself.  He has to actually care more about the group than he does the group’s opinion of him.  If he is sincere, his feelings will rarely steer him wrong and voicing them will do more good than harm.

If none of the players are willing to take that risk, there is one person who really has no choice but to do so: Todd  McLellan.  The mess isn’t all his fault, but he needs to clean it up.

If it isn’t the coach’s job to handle his players, and I mean handle them– manipulate, cajole, flatter, bully, encourage, bribe, whatever— then what the hell is his job?   If it is just the game logistics stuff, the planning and plotting and scouting, he could do that from home via web conference.  A big part of a coach’s job must be to communicate with the players, to make sure they understand things, to find a way to get through to them.

I don’t think Todd McLellan is a bully by nature.  He may not even be an enthusiastic meddler or manipulator.  But he needs to figure it out.  He needs to read these guys, find their buttons and PUSH THEM.

I believe the biggest problem for this team is a lack of inner drive. They are always seeking some sort of external motivation… Coach McLellan has provided it on more than one occasion, calling a time out to jump start his team or tearing a strip off them during an intermission…  -Ibid

I do not believe that the coach qualifies as “external motivation.”  If I want to get an A in school, I need to figure it out and motivate myself.  If my team wants to win, they need to kick me in the fanny and get me up to speed, not wait for me to “find my inner drive.”  This isn’t group therapy.

Briere and Pronger claimed to have no memory whatsoever of what Laviolette said during a recent time out.  Maybe not everyone listens.  Maybe they just forget quickly, or maybe it is not fit for public broadcast.  But they are winning like crazy.  Even the historically fractious Zherdev is getting on board, frantically scoring away with fourth line minutes and the occasional scratch.  I think he even got an assist tonight!

I don’t think it is because Mike Richards is the reincarnation of Ghandi or Winston Churchill, or because he beats ineffective team mates to a pulp.  I think they are free to be the best they can be because someone is doing the personality management, and doing it very well.

One style does not fit all, but the responsibility to manage people falls on the coach, not the players.  Since the Sharks organization was not willing to choose a fire-breathing leader as captain, then the responsibility weighs that much more.  It still belongs to the coach.

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