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There’s Still Hope For You: 43 Year Old Laurie To Make 3rd NHL Appearance

Often you hear players talk about “defining” themselves and “carving a niche” that makes them an important player. You know, filling a “role.” Well, Rob Laurie may be the best at this. He’s become the NHL’s go-to emergency backup goaltender as he’ll play for the Minnesota Wild.

Story courtesy of Talking Baws

For the third time in his career and second time this season the Anaheim-based goaltender will suit up for an NHL team. First, it was for the Vancouver Canucks. Now, the Minnesota Wild.

Darcy Kuemper was hurt during the morning skate and later ruled out of action. This forced the Wild to sign the 43-year-old Laurie, formerly of the ECHL and a single appearance in the AHL. Laurie is also an experience roller-hockey goalie from his time spent playing for the Bullfrogs during the mid-90′s.

Must be pretty nice to become “the guy” for any team needing an emergency goalie in the entire state of California. He’s now dressed for Anaheim, Vancouver, and Minnesota. All while over the age of 42.

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Maybe one day I can be signed as an emergency player. I hereby vow to never let go of the dream ’till death takes me.

Yes, we lost 5-0, So I had to come up with something intelligent….

Oilers lost to NY last night 5-0.  I actually stopped watching when the new series “Lindsay”  on the Oprah Network started. One train wreck to another. The only solace is that ‘Lindsay’ was cancelled after 4 episodes. The Oil have seven more games.

I enlisted the keen insight of a former colleague from my nursing/addiction studies days. He specializes in why sports teams (primarily those with talent that should be successful)  fail.

Why does an organization like the Oilers, or many other NHL , NBA, CFL, NFL, or even rec leagues in the country struggle?

1. The organization has not built a culture of trust and respect.  All-star teams are usually built from stellar performers, with enormous egos, which may translate into a lack of trust. Without trust and respect, the team lacks a solid foundation. So, as an NHL coach/ team leader, how is this countered?

Building trust is easy – not necessarily simple, but relatively easy. Some people are more trusting than others, and some hold back because of previous experiences. Regardless, the most effective ways to build trust are:

- Say what you mean and mean what you say

- Always speak and act with integrity
- Be consistent between word and deed

- Stay out of the gossip and rumor mills

2. Failing to create the chemistry necessary to succeed

In the movie “Miracle”, U.S. Olympic team coach Herb Brooks (played by actor Kurt Russell) says, “I am not looking for the best players. I am looking for the right players.” This is critical to understand when it comes to a team’s success. Whether in sports or business, a team must have the right players in the right positions. If not, a team may pursue a common goal, but when the players are not complementing each other’s skills and mind-sets, disaster will strike the core of the team.

Team chemistry allows for trust and respect while all members continue to focus on accomplishing their individual and team productivity goals.

3. Lack of mutual accountability

It is one thing for the management to hold everyone accountable – they should – and it is even better when members hold each other accountable. Some of the best teams are those whose leaders are only a resource in the event of a problem. Team members take care of the basic problems as they arise by holding each other 110 percent accountable.

4. Poor team language

Communication is the root of most problems, and ineffective teamwork is no different. While traditional communication between two people is vital, ineffective internal communication in a team setting will result in disaster.

The first sign of an internal breakdown is “me”-centered language, which is not healthy to accomplish the ultimate goal. Often this occurs in the subconscious mind and is never noticed.

In the workplace the language typically sounds like, “I think it should have been done this way”, or maybe, “I just don’t get it.” One of the biggest offenders is the phrase “It’s not my job.” These are all “me” statements because they revolve around one person rather than the team.

Every team goes through a development process. In the beginning, each member is about his or her individual performance, and as the team matriculates, it becomes more about the whole of the team.

Moving on

As a team begins to trust and respect each other, the process moves more smoothly. A successful leader focuses on the communication of “we” and not individual success or failure. Once the mind begins to process the difference in internal language, the external language follows suit. In a team environment, it’s what went right or wrong, not who succeeded or who caused the mishap.

When a team performs at peak levels, everyone feels as though they were an integral part of something successful. Success allows the team to experience more focus, cooperation, productivity and impact throughout the entire organization.

Teamwork is not about getting along with everyone because, let’s face it, that will never happen. If we understand another person’s behaviors, and adapt ours to a more team-centered approach, we can become better producers. That is the little secret of playing nice in the sandbox.

 

What is going wrong with the Oilers?

A collection of all of the above, including a disastrous communication factor within the coaching team and management as a whole. Early on Dallas Eakins stepped on some pretty important toes, and lost the support of the greatest hockey minds of the organization.

The players never really bought in. The ‘me’ language, (perpetuated by the ‘play my way or not at all) took over, and the ‘team building’ never had a chance. When Dallas spoke ‘me’, there was no chance for the team to speak ‘we’.

What Now?

 This is a tough one. There are so many things that need to change, who knows what should be first? In my never-so-humble-opinion, this team needs a more experienced leader that understands the above approach in hockey, in business, and in life.

Perhaps new players/moving players will establish a better culture of ‘team’ and cohesiveness in the dressing room. This ‘new thinking’ needs to start during the summer, and continue on throughout the season. More team building, (fun, challenging, new, different environment away from the ice) that continues THROUGHOUT the season. This is necessary in business as well as family life.

These are basic ingredients to success in life as a whole; whether your a parent, coach, teacher, or business manager. Success depends on everybody feeling heard, being a part of, and buying into the success as a team.

 

Credit: With editorial from Dr. B Black

 

 

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Referee Seems Pretty Drunk; Spins In Circles; Dances

Being an official in any sport isn’t easy. You don’t have any friends. Both teams hate you. Fans make fun of you. You’re the go-to scapegoat. In hockey, the rink is cold because ice. So it’s understandable that you’d relax with a few beverages.

This referee however, looks like he hit the bottle a little early. As in before, and possibly during the game, early.

Check the video over at Talking Baws

Here are some GIF highlights. (They aren’t loading properly for some reason. Click them for the full GIF experience)

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GIF: Partially Blind Soccer Fan Offers Linesman His Stick After Blown Offside Call

This soccer fan obviously has a good sense of humour.

Makes me wish we could see better interactions like this between hockey fans and officials!

Which reminds me of Kamloops Blazers mascot Digger and how when the ref would make a bad call, he would walk up to the glass with his mascot head turned backwards and flail is arms about.

The fan appears to be partially blind but, after the linesman makes the wrong offside call during Everton‘s 3-1 win at Craven Cottage, he sarcastically offers his walking stick to the official.

The linesman obviously doesn’t take him up on the offer but at least he sees the funny side of it.

Story courtesy of Talking Baws

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Hockey Players Pretend To Fight; Decide To Hug And Drink Beer On The Ice Instead

Whether it should be legal or not, fighting is a part of hockey. Two guys square up to punch each other in the face for the reason of “because” usually. However, two players in the FHL took the the purpose of fighting to a whole new level when instead of punching, they hug and drink beer together on the ice.

Check the video and a story at TalkingBaws.com

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Can Iggy get 30 goals this season? BUMP HE DID IT!!!!

Iggy hit 30 goals tonight. Thats 12 x 30 goal seasons. Congrats IGGY!

As a Flames fan it is still hard to watch Jarome Iginla don another team’s jersey. Yes I am excited that the youngsters are getting to play in Calgary but it’s almost like when your childhood hero retires (in my case Chipper Jones). It just makes you feel sad and old ( maybe old is the wrong word) because of all the time and memories you had watching a franchise player but now he’s gone. Nonetheless , Iggy has started his patented spring heat up in Boston and is on pace (ish) to get to that 30 goal mark again. He has 11 straight 30 goal seasons ( not counting the lock out season)  Can he do it?  He is 10 goals away. As a Flames fan I’m rooting for him. IGGY IGGY IGGY!

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Motivation for Struggling Oiler’s fans.

I’m not naive enough to think that the Oilers aren’t currently as bad as they seem. They’re bad. I get that and it’s frustrating. I’ve been too frustrated for words on multiple occasions over the past eight seasons that they’ve failed to make the playoffs and this year is certainly no exception. The longer the Oilers remain in the basement of the standings the higher my frustration level gets, and I’m not alone. But no matter how frustrated I might get, I still remain loyal to the Oil: they’re my team and I’m not about to give up on them now after eight less than mediocre seasons of standing behind them.

Yesterday I was asked if I was humiliated to be an Oiler’s fan. My answer? Of course I’m not humiliated to be an Oiler’s fan: I still plan my schedule around Oiler’s games so I can watch as many as possible, I continue to drive my car with a large Oiler’s decal on the back window, I still proudly wear my jersey, I still go to games, I STILL SUPPORT MY TEAM.

The better question would have been: am I frustrated being an Oiler’s fan? And my answer would’ve been that a lot of the time I am, but I’m also really proud to be an Oiler’s fan. Being frustrated with the Oiler’s is a far cry from being humiliated by them. I wouldn’t even say that I’m embarrassed to be an Oiler’s fan. If anything I’m proud to be a fan that stands by my team even when it’s extremely difficult to do so. If someone is only a “fan” when a team is doing well then I wouldn’t consider them a fan, I consider them a bandwagon-er. Ain’t nobody got time for fake fans.

When I was young I fell in love with the game of hockey and then I fell in love with a team that inspired me to continue loving the game. When I wear my jersey I don’t think about how awful the Oiler’s current record is, I think of the guys (past and present) who are a big part of the reason I wear the jersey: Ryan Smyth, Dwayne Roloson, Wayne Gretzky, and most recently, Ben Scrivens, among others. Being a fan isn’t just about your team’s current record, it’s about your favourite players, your favourite memories, your passion, and most importantly it’s about sticking with your team through their lowest points so that when they reach their highest point you’ll have free rights to drink your face off and cheer like there’s no tomorrow. But seriously, sticking it out when your team is less than adequate only makes their success even more special.

Being an Oiler’s fan doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to get frustrated, it just means that you grab another beer or glass of wine and remind yourself that there’s always next year. I’m not saying it’s easy to be an Oiler’s fan these days but this can’t last forever. For now we just need to embrace the positive things like Smytty being one power play goal away from breaking an NHL record, Ben Scrivens’ record breaking 59-save shutout, or the amazing wins the boys have pulled off that no one ever saw coming. If you give up on them now don’t bother coming back when they start making it to the playoffs because the true Oiler’s fans don’t want you.

Go ahead, have another Rexall crack beer if that will get you through, but DON’T GIVE UP ON THIS TEAM. One day they will achieve the greatness that everyone knows is within them and when that day comes we can all stand proud with our team knowing that we supported them through the worst times. Keep bleeding copper and blue, folks, I have a feeling we’re going to be drinking for celebratory reasons rather than “drowning our sorrows” reasons soon (I mean really, how long can this possibly go on?!).

Oilers Vs. Ducks….and Jason Voorhees

 

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Oilers pulled off a win last night against the Ducks, but who can blame this guy for going ‘incognito’ just in case of another embarrassing blow out. *For the record, ‘Jason’ kept his mask on the entire night, and didn’t kill anybody (to my knowledge)directly around us*.

Curtis Joseph was in the house for a great tribute for such a great player, and all around guy. In 1996 I worked for his dentist, and somewhere in my treasures I have a signed (unused) dental bib. He didn’t smile big enough last night to see  my work, but trust me. Great teeth.

If you played my game outlined in yesterday’s post, you probably have a hangover.  Here’s some highlights from last night:

Hall ‘pouty moves’ occurred with 11:18 into the first when he slammed his stick on the ice after a missed pass. 13:05 whining and shaking his head during a sloppy change. And 14:48 when he drops his stick and heads to the referees to complain about a call. Second period had some fabulous displays at 5:58, 14:12, and 15:30.

If you were counting falls for no apparent reason, (any and all players) you surely enjoyed Hall falling at  9:28 in the first, 4:14 in the second, and 14:49 in the 3rd. Eberle falling directly on his head after getting tangled up in his own feet with nobody remotely close to him in the 2nd was my personal favorite, but, I’m not paid to write about stats. I’m not paid at all, actually…but I digress…

Jones got hurt after exactly 3 minutes of play. I predicted an injury during warm up, but I’d say I’m close enough.

I therapeutically dissected Eakins presence on the bench. He stood in the center, but did not talk to ANY of his assistant/associate coaches at any time. During timeouts, he didn’t talk to the team, his assistants did. Last night was the worst I had ever seen for Eakins disinterest, but we WON. Coincidence?

Lastly, I watched during the early pregame skate as a five year old boy and his father sat directly behind the glass with a home made sign saying, “Come Say Hi Eberle! You’re My Favorite Player”. Eberle skated past 14 times and didn’t acknowledge the sign or the kid. Smyth, however, tossed several pucks into the crowd of youngsters before leaving the ice, making a special trip to the young Eberle fan, (probably offering to give the kid his watch). I know I have a reputation for slagging Smyth, but it has no basis, and he won my heart last night for that act alone.

All in all, it was a great night, with some great people around us: a nice guy from Saskatchewan attending his first Oiler game, and bought his 4 month old daughter the cutest Oiler onesie and sock set. Some very funny gentlemen behind us who had me laughing the whole game, and our host, my good friend DL.

Next game: April’s Vancouver match up that I’m really only attending to watch Tortorella and wear my “Next Question” Tshirt. Oh, and mini doughnuts.

 

Credits: Saskatchewan guy, DL, and the guys behind us.