How to Win Hockey Games Again: A Lesson in History & Psychology
To Bring Down an Empire, Neglect its People
You’ll hear many stories about why the Roman Empire fell. But each one of these stories has the same implication: Its people weren’t happy.
The empire may have fallen because of general corruption or the government’s neglect of its people; it may have fallen, many scholars believe, because of Christianity and its insistence that we shouldn’t work so hard to fight and win battles here on earth because something’s waiting for us in the afterlife that’s more important. All these possibilities have the same consequence: Soldiers of Rome stopped caring about Rome. They no longer fought with passion and unbreakable honor because they no longer loved / worshiped their empire.
And why should they have loved an empire that didn’t look after its own? As the end of the empire came near, soldiers were being recruited from abroad because the locals were dying off. So once again, the problem was that they did not fight with much dedication. They were being treated as machines. Instruments.
Indifferent soldiers lose wars. End of story.
To Bring Down a Team, Treat the Players like Machines that “Produce” Goals
Now I think Claude Julien is brilliant, really, but I cringe every time he talks about his players and their “production levels”. Nice way to make those kids feel worthless– like they’re not individuals.
Most of these boys are just that–boys. And with any luck, they’ll remain boys forever, like so many of the lucky ones have.
You can train a boy to play hockey but you can’t teach him to care. You can collect the products of his game play when he’s scoring and having fun, but you can’t force him to have fun. That part comes on its own if you’re not doing anything to bring the boys down.
Of course they’re part of a team, but that’s not all they are. Passion, motivation, or whatever you want to call it, comes from inside. If it comes from inside, then it comes from the individual. Take away the individual by making him feel like a mere piece of the machine, and elementary logic tells us you’ve subtracted the passion. No passion, no fun. No fun, no enjoyment. No enjoyment, no production.
It’s not “hard work” you should be preaching to your team; hard work comes on its own as a byproduct of motivation. Keep the motivation alive and your guys will work hard: Hard work feels good when you’re pumped on adrenaline and endorphins, which are both abundant in the brain when you’re having fun.
When you’re on that natural high, you feel less pain. Case in point: Andrew Ferrence hauling butt on a broken tibia, which hurts. A lot. The Bruins were already winning 4 – 1 when he went down, and then got up to play on one leg. He was the one to clear the puck on Montreal’s powerplay before crawling to the bench, and out of the game for a long time. See it for yourself in the following video clip.
The Case of Lucic
Unable to control what has been called “boyish enthusiasm” (the understatement of the season), Lucic inspired an entire Banknorth Garden by finally taking on Komisarek, after having scored the 5th goal of the game. The fans lost themselves in Lucic entirely, and the best way to express what we saw that day in the gardens is perhaps through pictures and video.
Battles and wars are won with drive. Reignite our boys’ drive and you’ll have your empire.