Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Season Draws Near

Words from the rookie tournament yesterday, Murray on the powerplay and his desire for consistency, and an important lesson that all hockey families should remember well.

Another look at yesterday's rookie tournament game from the Ottawa Sun. Once again we hear that after the team settled down, following that unfortunate early goal, the guys really started to come together and gain their confidence. Garrioch also has some thoughts on Elliot's last season and his chances to land in Ottawa, as well as Winchester's good start. As I've said before, considering the Auld contract and the very real possibility that neither Auld nor Elliot will be labelled an NHL starter by season's end, we might find ourselves browsing the goalie market once again. As for Winchester, I will give you my thoughts on his first game when I can sort through my first attempt at taking notes during a live hockey game.

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch has it from Murray at yesterday's game that he is still seeking a defenceman to run the powerplay. He says he's sure there are guys on the Ottawa Senators roster who can fill that role, but he wants to know he has one that can do it consistently. He sees newly acquired Kuba as being a fit on the powerplay, but says that while Picard can move and handle the puck well, he doesn't seem like he'll be on the powerplay. He expects the market for such defencemen to open up as the season gets going. Garrioch tosses out the names of Corvo and Kaberle of the Canes, and Ohlund of the Canucks. I can't see Corvo being shopped, due to his 21 points in 23 games as a Cane, nor do I think that a few more years of 34 year old marginal Kaberle is in our best interests. Ohlund has a no trade clause, so it remains to be seen if he would ever wind up moving, and considering the trouble new Canucks GM Mike Gillis has had in getting the players he's wanted this offseason, I'm not sure that we could or would want to meet the price he is asking. Right now, my mind is on seeing what the team can pull off in the exhibition games, as well as whether a bright spot from yesterday's rookie game can continue to sparkle against the Leafs and the Pens.

And now an important announcement from THN. Ryan Kennedy speaks out against the abusive nature of some hockey parents. Truly a cause worth championing, as no child deserves to undergo such pressure, and one can only imagine what might happen to a child with parents like this whose son follows the path of Stefan Legein.

I myself worry too about the flip side, not only of parents who either abuse their child to any degree, but of parents who see their child succeed and put them on a pedestal to the point where they become a negative, self-aggrandizing person themselves. I don't know what made a classmate of mine be the abusive bully to me and others that he was, but I do know the mixed feelings I felt when he was drafted and paid his first million.

Maybe it doesn't have the draw of stories like that of the NFL's Vick, but parents, family, and friends need to remember that behind the accomplishments, fame, and skill of every hockey player is a child or person, just like the rest of us. They can suffer, they can be warped, and sometimes it becomes too easy to get caught up in the excitement and excuse the wrong choices that are made. It's important to always remember that staying grounded can be the most important thing for hockey players and those around them to do, in order to send them soaring to the highest peaks of success.

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