I was listening to a great podcast recently by Eric Zimmer. He is a recovering heroin addict who now helps people change behaviors. He said “you do not realize you have hit rock bottom until you are on your way back up.” Here in Ottawa the question is have they hit rock bottom? For the last six months we have been fed the line that they are in a rebuild, play the kids. Idealistic idea. Two games in players have been sent to the American League and a trade has been made. Damage control mode has set in or so it seems. Did they over value their players and find out just how different NHL games are from pre-season. What do you now? Simple answer teach.
Fans believe that perception is reality. The perception is that the kids are going play, make mistakes, lose some games, win some games and everything will work out in the end. These fans are running a race and romanticizing about the finish before they have even crossed the finish line. DJ Smith and Pierre Dorion will be fortunate to win five of their first twenty games. Coach Smith, Coach Mann in Belleville and their respective staffs and will not be coaching. They will be teaching. Legendary coach Vince Lombardi said “players cannot be coached until they are taught. “Fans and media better buckle up their jock straps because they have not hit rock bottom yet. Players in the Senators organization lack the necessary fundamentals to compete at a National Hockey League level. They just play on talent. If the General Manager is true to his word and I have no reason to doubt, this is changing. Change takes time and way I see it we have to evaluate the season in twenty game packages. There will be a thud coming in the first 20 games and that will be them hitting rock bottom. Do not panic. What is broken can always be repaired and many times comes back stronger. It just takes time,teaching, and patience.
We live in a less patient society. The Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials believe that patience is not striving and nothing could be further from the truth. The job of the media is to get the fans to consume their media. They give us all sorts of information which the fan has no control over, but they feel they do. What this does leads us to quick conclusions on players and how they can or cannot do the job. They feel that they are part of the process. Guess what you are not!
The fan base and the media concern themselves with metrics. Wins and losses. Plus minus and whatever else analytics guru’s throw our way. At this point in time they are meaningless. What needs to be measured is progress. How the player develops psychologically, hockey intelligence, and off ice maturity. The fans and media for the most part do not know how to measure progress. The measuring of progress is an internal process. Information that we do not have access to. However, if you are paying attention you sure can see it.
Every Ottawa player has a different starting point and a different finish line. What lies in between is made up of choices. A lot of players look good getting off the bus but it is up to them and the choices they make. Can they rid themselves of the entitlements they have had so far in their career? Are the expectations they and their personal camps have realistic or overvalued? Expectations are in the future, and entitlements can derail the process. These are killers and cannot be part of the romantic race that fans and media want to run.
We will see after twenty games.
Until next time!
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