Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are the Coaches Working Hard Enough?

A $62 million payroll watches a coach talk to a grease board
Or more importantly, are they working smart enough?


I attended practice on Veteran's Day, as I had the day off of work.  Given the circumstances, it is understandable that the practice was pretty dirge-like early on.  As things wore on, some of the natural ebullience of guys like Vinny Prospal began to take over, and some spirit was added to the practice.

One thing really struck me though.  At the beginning of practice, a coach drew up the drills on a grease board.  Really?  This is the NHL boys.  Did you not have that figured out before practice started?  These feelings I had got pricked by the content of the Columbus Dispatch's weekly chat, hosted by Aaron Portzline.  In the chat he was discussing the pace of a Vancouver Canuck practice that he had observed, and how the team had discussed the practice prior to coming out on the ice, and ran a very fast paced practice.  You mean they were prepared?

I have two points to make.  One is about acoustics.  The other is about communication.


The acoustics of an ice rink are kind of like a sounding box.  Hard surfaces bouncing sound everywhere.  If you are forced to turn away from a group of people and speak while you draw on the handy grease board, it is going to be difficult to hear you, particularly when attempting to communicate to a multi-national group in a place with marginal acoustics.

So my second point is, are you sure you are communicating with the team?  Are they getting your message? I've run plenty of meetings, in much more acoustically friendly places, and its still difficult to get your message across to a group of people.  It would seem particularly hard to do it on the ice to a bunch of people who have been skating around and are ready to get on with practice.  Why don't they know what practice is going to be before they hit the ice?

Oh yeah.  I gave up grease boards a long time ago.  That's for on the bench.  That's a $62 million payroll there.  Why aren't you using something more technologically advanced than a dang grease board?  Didn't you hear what the Shannahammer said?  These guys all grew up learning from video.  Are you sending video of what they are supposed to be doing to their phones every day??  Why not?  If it is not your strength, find some kid in the organization to do it for you.  C'mon Coach!

I know that by all accounts, Ken Hitchcock was hyper organized, and emphasized preparation.  Is the current coaching staff meeting that bar?  At 3-13-1 these are fair questions.

GO JACKETS!!!

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