The Little Things Make the Difference Between Winning and Losing

  
The Rink cut-2-e1533868567481 The Little Things Make the Difference Between Winning and Losing Knowledge Bomb Blackhawks

With 42 games left, the season is basically half over. Yet, the Blackhawks continue to look like they are often playing preseason hockey games.

Some subtle, but highly impactful things, the Hawks are doing or failing to do, are keeping the team from playing to their potential and playing consistently.

Game Readiness: For nearly three years, the Hawks have struggled to play a full sixty minute game. Often, the Hawks start games slowly, and are dominated by their opponent in the first period. Whatever game prep the Hawks are doing individually and as a team, is not working. Really wonder what kind of mental training and visualization the players do.

Game Tempo: For all the gushing Hawk announcers were giving Vegas last night, their success was driven by three simple things: full-speed foot movement by every Golden Knight, never giving up on a play, and quick, decisive puck movement. Setting a team’s “foot tempo” happens in training camp and in practice. Really wonder what demands the coaching staff have made of the players to move with the effort, desire, and purpose Vegas does. Any team can move like Vegas did last night if the “foot tempo” is ingrained into the players’ playing DNA. And really wonder why the entire Hawk bench isn’t on an extremely short shift leash – including the Dmen.

Game Awareness: Poor in-game decisions often drive the poor play of the Hawks as a team. Things like players skating by their own bench only to decide moments later to go for a shift change when they reach their own zone. (A top talent player that is tired is nowhere near as effective defensively as an average player with fresh legs.) Players passing the puck to teammates who are going for a shift change and have their back to the play. Forwards passing the puck back into the Hawk zone to Hawk Dmen, who are gassed and in need of change. Hawk Dmen unable to execute simple D to D passing. Hawk Dmen constantly standing still with the puck in their own zone. Hawk Dmen constantly telegraphing passes. Hawk Dmen constantly slowing the game tempo down, instead of pushing the pace. Young Hawks who turn the puck over, but then compound their mistake by chasing the puck all over the Hawks defensive zone – leaving their man alone – and that man usually scores the goal for the other team. Really wonder what is driving some players’ decision-making.

Game Toughness: Like individuals, teams have an identity. But you would be hard-pressed to describe this year’s Blackhawks on-ice team identity. A team’s on-ice identity is forged by the collective psyche of Hawk players, coaching staff, and GM. A team without an on-ice identity is usually easy to play against. And far too often, the Blackhawks are easy to play against. Compete level doesn’t mean “meathead hockey” – it means that the team and each individual player is committed – together – to winning every shift. Blackhawk fans have not seen this kind of team commitment often enough. Really wonder about the endless hype of the billion dollar Blackhawk brand. Has the promotion of the “off-ice” team identity created unnecessary obstacles for the players to consistently play their best hockey?

Center Ice Forums The Little Things Make the Difference between Winning and Losing

This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Bob Rose Jr 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #2641

    Bob Rose Jr
    RinkRat

    With 42 games left, the season is basically half over. Yet, the Blackhawks continue to look like they are often playing preseason hockey games. Some s
    [To continue reading full article, click: The Little Things Make the Difference between Winning and Losing]

    #2643

    Mr. T
    RinkRat

    Good article, yes it’s definitely on the coaching or lack thereof.

    The kids need better guidance while the core needs to play with
    more passion, after all it’s a team sport.

    #2647

    Helpful reads, Bob.

    Game readiness: Indeed it’s been yeeeeeeears this has gone on, Hawks ain’t ready for the bell. That along with doubting a fan will see a full 60 minutes of hockey/effort is the only sure thing the last 3+ yrs. How much of that falls to the coach and or a fractured room?

    Playing fast: I think most players want to play this way, it’s fun. Isn’t the #1 thing that predicates playing fast positioning (preparation) and familiarity (chemistry)? If so isn’t that coaching? Running around at full speed without purpose defeats itself cuz you run out of position too often as you mention young Hawks running around in their own zone, no?

    Awareness: Haven’t the Hawks claimed to put awareness (IQ) near the top of the list when drafting players? If so, that they’ve drafted high IQ players, have they gotten dumb at the NHL level or are they up too soon or is it coaching at the NHL level or is it coaching at the AHL level not preparing them? Does the system (AHL/NHL) have a uniform system that’s coached to? If not who does that fall on?

    Game toughness/team identity: My favorite part of your piece and a really really really great question. No one can question Vegas’ compete and IMO a synonym for compete is hunger and effort, Vegas is as hungry a team as this league has to offer. How long has it been since we saw a hungry Hawk, and quite frankly front office, team with a core that has won 3 cups? ….IMO the identity since the last cup has been a top heavy skilled group that will give a skilled/speed 10-20 minute push that needs to be weathered and if so they can be beaten more times than not.

    As I read and responded to your piece I keep coming back to coaching, or accepting that coaching. There is no doubt that in a parity driven league that plays fast that teams can no longer overwhelm with talent. Without both coaching (preparation/optimal slotting) and effort/compete/hunger (all 3 one in the same) you can’t win in the NHL.

    Where is/are the disconnect(s)?

    #2649

    Alan Parsons
    RinkRat

    Gerard Gallant is an underappreciated and underrated coach. He deserves a lot of credit. Also so many guys are playing for big contracts as they are UFA next season. Vegas stands to lose a lot if they dont sell and instead fool themselves into thinking they are Cup contenders this season.

    #2652

    Bob Rose Jr
    RinkRat

    Good article, yes it’s definitely on the coaching or lack thereof.

    The kids need better guidance while the core needs to play with
    more passion, after all it’s a team sport.

    >Hey Mr. T, I think everyone in the Hawks organization shares in the ongoing challenges of the on-ice product results
    >How much each sector — players, coaches, GM, Brand Marketing is responsible is the question

    #2653

    Bob Rose Jr
    RinkRat

    Helpful reads, Bob.

    Game readiness: Indeed it’s been yeeeeeeears this has gone on, Hawks ain’t ready for the bell. That along with doubting a fan will see a full 60 minutes of hockey/effort is the only sure thing the last 3+ yrs. How much of that falls to the coach and or a fractured room?

    Playing fast: I think most players want to play this way, it’s fun. Isn’t the #1 thing that predicates playing fast positioning (preparation) and familiarity (chemistry)? If so isn’t that coaching? Running around at full speed without purpose defeats itself cuz you run out of position too often as you mention young Hawks running around in their own zone, no?

    Awareness: Haven’t the Hawks claimed to put awareness (IQ) near the top of the list when drafting players? If so, that they’ve drafted high IQ players, have they gotten dumb at the NHL level or are they up too soon or is it coaching at the NHL level or is it coaching at the AHL level not preparing them? Does the system (AHL/NHL) have a uniform system that’s coached to? If not who does that fall on?

    Game toughness/team identity: My favorite part of your piece and a really really really great question. No one can question Vegas’ compete and IMO a synonym for compete is hunger and effort, Vegas is as hungry a team as this league has to offer. How long has it been since we saw a hungry Hawk, and quite frankly front office, team with a core that has won 3 cups? ….IMO the identity since the last cup has been a top heavy skilled group that will give a skilled/speed 10-20 minute push that needs to be weathered and if so they can be beaten more times than not.

    As I read and responded to your piece I keep coming back to coaching, or accepting that coaching. There is no doubt that in a parity driven league that plays fast that teams can no longer overwhelm with talent. Without both coaching (preparation/optimal slotting) and effort/compete/hunger (all 3 one in the same) you can’t win in the NHL.

    Where is/are the disconnect(s)?

    >Rico! Great to hear from you!
    >As mentioned, it’s difficult to know which sector is most influencing the on-ice performance
    >Regarding coaching, Q had to be super-pissed at Kitch’s canning and Hammer being traded
    >Not sure I will ever “buy” that Q and SBow are “on the same page” after this last summer
    >Not sure what the “Moneyball effect” between those two does to everything else
    >But I will say that it has to be difficult for Q to build a close team and also rip guys during practice when everything is open to the public — too, too much marketing
    >Phil Jackson was a master of building trust and bonds between players
    >Not sure even he could do that with the Hawk Marketing Machine set to “11”
    >Regarding players, Hossa kind of shamed the rest of the players with his 200 foot effort shift after shift
    >No one has really taken on that roll

    #2655

    Bob Rose Jr
    RinkRat

    Gerard Gallant is an underappreciated and underrated coach. He deserves a lot of credit. Also so many guys are playing for big contracts as they are UFA next season. Vegas stands to lose a lot if they dont sell and instead fool themselves into thinking they are Cup contenders this season.

    >AP — YES, think the number of Vegas players playing for their next contract is indeed a very important motivator for their game after game effort
    >And yes, GG is a very good coach
    >But, regarding the Hawks, no more excuses: “too many games” “too much time off” “too much travel”
    >Time to step on the ice with a unified purpose, shift after shift

    #2658

    Mewirtz
    RinkRat

    Bob, I don’t think it matters a whit what’s going on between Q and Stanbo or “Too much marketing”. This team has aged quickly and not well. Some poor personnel decisions have been made–Hawks apparently lost the Panarin-Saad trade–all of that may be inevitable. What’s unforgivable is lack of preparedness, not protecting your smaller players, and being too predictable on the power play. THAT reflects on coaching.

    #2667

    Bob Rose Jr
    RinkRat

    Bob, I don’t think it matters a whit what’s going on between Q and Stanbo or “Too much marketing”. This team has aged quickly and not well. Some poor personnel decisions have been made–Hawks apparently lost the Panarin-Saad trade–all of that may be inevitable. What’s unforgivable is lack of preparedness, not protecting your smaller players, and being too predictable on the power play. THAT reflects on coaching.

    >Fair points, MeW
    >Must say I am surprised how weak the Hawks roster is at the Center Position, given that Scotty Bowman has publicly stated the importance of being solid at C, 1-4
    >If Toews continues to look more like himself, (loved his frequent use of the Mohawk move to puck protect vs Vegas), and Schmaltz plays like his Ranger game more often, perhaps the Center position will be stable
    >Kampf has looked very good fundamentally at the position
    >Can’t agree on Saad trade — way too early to judge that — and yes, I do have a strong pro-Saad bias
    >Player preparedness is on the players and players’ leadership group MORE than the coach
    >Power Play IS on the coaching staff for allowing the same ineffective things to happen over and over
    >Not protecting smaller players is on the GM’s roster construction
    >Hawks do not have a player that scares anyone on an NHL bench
    >And I must respectively disagree on the too much marketing — players AND coaches need the “space” to find the right rhythm of mental game prep, escape from hockey to rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit AND keep their enthusiasm where it needs to be
    >Too much marketing cuts into their time to do so
    >Lastly, an ongoing power struggle within any business is seldom a good thing
    >Appreciate your take on things, glad you are a RinkRat!

    #2874

    6628
    RinkRat

    Hey there Snapper, you continue to make nothing but sense. I think it’s great you have an outlet to broadcast. I enjoy reading your comments and agree with most of them. Good luck with this in the future.

    #3742

    Bob Rose Jr
    RinkRat

    Hey there Snapper, you continue to make nothing but sense. I think it’s great you have an outlet to broadcast. I enjoy reading your comments and agree with most of them. Good luck with this in the future./quote]

    Hey 66,

    Just saw this. Many, many thanks. Best to you as well.

    #3923

    Bob, I don’t think it matters a whit what’s going on between Q and Stanbo or “Too much marketing”. This team has aged quickly and not well. Some poor personnel decisions have been made–Hawks apparently lost the Panarin-Saad trade–all of that may be inevitable. What’s unforgivable is lack of preparedness, not protecting your smaller players, and being too predictable on the power play. THAT reflects on coaching.

    >Lastly, an ongoing power struggle within any business is seldom a good thing

    This…………

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