Maybe we should all be glad that John Tortorella is on ESPN: 9 Things

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Call me crazy. But if I ever had the knowledge and ability to coach Connor McDavid, my first advice to him would not be to “shut up”.

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With a few thoughts on today’s hockey player and how the approach that coaches and managers use in almost every other workplace is also needed more and more in the game …

9 Things

9. How rarely does an organization see not just one but two of its members introduced to the Hockey Hall of Fame on the same day? That happened this weekend for Oilers great Kevin Lowe and current Edmonton CEO Ken Holland . Both … well deserved.

8. Small sample. But over his 1 st 2 beginnings of 2021 Stuart Skinner looked like an NHL goalie. His .902 SV% is far more remarkable than his 0-2 record. Skinner gave his club the chance to be a punisher in both games. I was a little disappointed that his teammates hadn’t done a little more to catch him in any of them.

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7. Edmonton 2021 6 th Round selection Matvej Petrov enrolled ELC with the big club, a 3-year-old business that would have an annual cap success of $ 843K. So far this season the North Bay Battalion forward is 11-9-20 in 15 games. Petrov is a right-hander who plays his outfield. And at 6’2 the 18-year-old probably hasn’t quite finished growing yet.

6. Meanwhile, Oilers 2021 1 st Round sketch choice Xavier Bourgault dominates the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He has scored 5 goals for Shawinigan over the last 2 games, including a hat-trick on Saturday. Bourgault is now 15-15-30 in just 15 games. The 19-year-old was also named the QMJHL Player of the Month for October. Some did not like this choice, but …

5. I’m glad for both Ryan McLeod and Tyler Benson making their brands like Edmonton Oilers and NHL regulars. Benson doesn’t have McLeod’s NHL-caliber wheels. But McLeod is also not as quick to go to the hard areas of the ice surface as Benson. It’s never been that simple, of course, but one player with both of the best traits combined would probably be an 82-game / year-old man.

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4. The way than young Evan Bouchard traveled so far this season has been a fascinating study. Bouchard’s game against Detroit was probably the worst of his NHL career. But instead of pinning him to the bench (it wasn’t an effort) they kept calling his number. The next game, against a much better team in Boston, Bouchard was fabulous. I was very nervous that Bouchard might get the Jeff Petry treatment. Instead, I was reassured and impressed with the patience this coaching staff had with him. And mostly the fans too.

3. I like both Kris Russell and Slater Koekkoek . And while I have no dispute about their effort, it’s fair to say that none of them have set the world on fire in that 3LD position so far. A small sample? All right, just. But in the meantime, perspective Philip Broberg raised his game several notches with the Bakersfield Condors. In the limited action I watched, Broberg was dominant. Of course, the plan is to let the child continue to develop in the AHL. But one wonders if Broberg isn’t just an injury away from full-time NHL work.

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2. Like someone who watched that every second Connor McDavid played this year, I’m sure he doesn’t get the calls he deserves. And if you scan the link, you’ll soon realize that McDavid is just the easy example for those who focus on the Oilers. But it happens to great players across the NHL. And for a league that tries to sell its game to the public at the NFL or NBA level, it’s amazing how Gary Bettman thinks these unfortunate examples of office are good marketing. Long ago, those 2 other leagues determined that fans and sponsors were in it for the stars. And the NHL will continue to follow those products until it finds out as well.

1. Former NHL coach Juan Tortorella appeared this past week on the same subject and suggested that instead of complaining about a lack of calls, Connor McDavid should “Quite honestly, just shut up. Don’t talk about it.” Tortorella continued, adding “I do think he needs to change a little bit. his game. He talked about culture, he talked about standards, he talked about victory ”and“ You have to play the other side of the hockey puck ”. First, let’s be fair. Tortorella is not entirely wrong. You do have to play a two-way game to win the finals. And as good as he is, Connor McDavid is not yet the perfect player. Just a ball. Although I have to say, I don’t hear a lot of complaints from 97. All in all. Is it just me?

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But the attitude and approach of guys like John Tortorella is partly what continues to keep the NHL from reaching size. There has been a change of guard on NHL benches the last 5 years. Old, stock market sergeants are disappearing. Some of those guys were brilliant tacticians, understood the X’s and O’s of the game like few others. Former Oilers interim coach Ken Hitchcock is the most recent example of this in Edmonton. A brilliant mind when it comes to the game. But the tactics when it comes to dealing with players have become obsolete.

The worst action I ever personally saw was a junior coach who stopped the team bus a mile out of town on a dark, cold prairie winter road and walked the players, still in his wet game equipment long overdue. the rest of the way into town in front of a sack skating them for another hour after that. They were teenagers. And anyone close to a game then knows that there were other versions of that. In the worst examples, they didn’t just do it limo about mental abuse.

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To be clear: There were far more coaches with much better sanity and decency than the one who nevertheless believed in destroying players in order to build them. Depriving them of their creative spark and conforming to an inflexible system. That enduring abuse from an opponent and indifference from an employee was somehow a rite of passage. I never understood this. Why turn dancers into ditches?

Fortunately, 2021 is a much brighter time. Corporations worldwide have spent billions of dollars researching how best to motivate and retain today’s best employees. And guess what? Pulling power outings and head games, insulting and mincing them from their creativity is not that. It doesn’t work today and in most people it probably never worked.

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Fortunately, those kinds of dinosaurs are disappearing from board rooms and for the most part are also out of the NHL game. But if John Tortorella really thinks the best advice for perhaps the most advanced player we’ve ever seen lacing a pair of skates is to “shut up” and “change his game”?

Well, maybe the hockey world is damn lucky, Tortorella is only on ESPN, where those things might be doing good TV, and not in a dressing room pulling such action on the next generation of creative, talented NHL superstars.

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

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