Sunday, February 21, 2016

Time to Lose 'the Hug'

Boy has Nick Foligno had a rough year.  For everything that went right for him last year, things have gone wrong for him this year.  The puck won't go in this year, whereas it always found the net last year.  Part of his success was an uncharacteristically high proportion of minutes on the top line due to the slew of injuries last year, and he made the most of the opportunity.

At the end of a different late season surge following the lockout, Nick took to giving the crazy new goal tender Bobrovsky a big hug when he won.  The marketing folks loved it, and it was a big part of the organic, emotional surge that lifted the team into the playoffs the following year, and it became something of a ritual.  At this point, the ritual's connection to that organic emotional time has been completely lost.  Bob is out until who knows when, Nick is struggling, and this is an ideal time to let 'the Hug' pass into the history segment of our organization.  Take the mantle of 'the Hug' off Nick's shoulders, and free the interaction between the goal tender and the team Captain after a win from the clutches of the marketing department.  Let it go.

There is a lot to be said for ceremony and ritual.  It helps to cement long standing ties in a group of people.  But something that started as a wild reaction to the crazy goal tender with the crazy name who was playing lights out, should not be channelized into a forced ritual.  Let's let it go, and we can remember with fondness the times when that crazy group of overachievers played so well for a couple of years.

Shockingly, our team has gotten younger through this process, which didn't seem possible.  Their course will be different now, with Torts at the helm, and a lot of our future success has been tied to relatively recent drafts.  The last thing you want is to force two of your core players to do some ritual recalling the past when they both have had such struggles recently.  If it happens, it should happen out of the flow of crazy celebration of a win which invokes that reaction.  Let it become organic and wild again.  It's time.

The marketing department will find other things to use.  They haven't even had the chance to dial up the Seth Jones machine yet.  Hee hee, wait until they get going on that!  Time to focus on the fresh young talent that will lead the way in the future, and make this change when no one will really notice.


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