Jack Blatherwick

Do NOT keep it simple ... at least not in the offseason

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

The color commentator sounded as if he’d just seen the greatest athletic achievement in history. He was ecstatic to explain that the two teams sharing a 0-0 tie after one period “kept it simple.” This wasn’t a playoff game, where winning might arguably be the only purpose. This was regular season college hockey where one might expect improvement to be part of the long-range plan. What is it about SIMPLE that drives coaches and commentators to convince us that safe, vanilla hockey is the path to greatness? In other sports, it’s about complexity and deceptiveness, and “going for it.”

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Questions as you plan your offseason development

 

First: Are you getting the most from your time and effort?

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

Chip Kelly, coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and former coach of the University of Oregon Ducks, said this about every workout, even offseason strength training: “People should be able to come, observe you and in five minutes know what you stand for.”

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Igor Larionov, the catalyst

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

Igor Larionov was nicknamed “The Professor” of the Soviet five-man unit featured in the movie “RED ARMY.” Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov were his wings (to form the KLM Line), Slava Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov his D, and all five would eventually leave the crumbling Soviet Union to play in the NHL.

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Scrimmages are encouraged by USA, Minnesota Hockey

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

I’m happy to correct a misstatement I made two weeks ago in Let’s Play Hockey, when I said USA Hockey does not allow two teams to scrimmage without referees. USA Hockey contacted me because they’d like people to know they DO encourage scrimmage activities of all kinds in practices or competition between two teams. There are no restrictions, but both teams have to be registered.

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Hockey’s greatest teacher?

 

By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

Scrimmage! That’s the short answer, and it’s right up front, so you can skip the rest of this opinion. We’re told by “experts” above us that there must be a certain number of practices for every game. I don’t remember if it’s two or three, but it’s like a duty. I’ve seen hundreds of practices, and even the best of them lack the intensity and fun of a scrimmage.

Read more: Hockey’s greatest teacher?