Thursday, November 17, 2011

Segments...

So looky there. The Blue Jackets get some press on NHL.com today. First a piece on how we are trying to stay confident and then a piece of Rick Nash's burden. For where we are right now, I honestly would like to thank Dan Rosen for actually being quite level in his commentary on the state of the team and organization.

But one of Rick Nash's comments stuck out to me. And it hearkened back to comments that started off the season. You see, Nash said this:

"One of the goals...was to take the season in game segments...now...we're down to minute segments..."

and then the even more ominous...

"We're worried about the first five minutes of (Thursday) night's game and that's it..."

Well many of us know the origin of this approach. Arniel spoke often about how he felt part of our downfall at the end of last year was getting too caught up in the playoff picture and not staying focused on the game at hand.

But combine this with the oft touted observation that the minute we get scored on, the air goes out of our tires. Mase slumps, we slump...and the other team scores to win. If the first five minutes of tonight's game go poorly - does that mean the team will believe we're doomed?

So while, in theory, game to game, seems like a good approach, period to period, or minute to minute, seems almost rife with problems. Because the issue isn't the segment, its the transition between the segments that in question-particularly with a team in a state such as ours. And while I'm no professional athlete, and we've all heard across sports the idea that "you have to let the bad plays go...", I question if this can be done in a game paced such as hockey. Football is different: quarterback throws a bad pass, but then he gets a whole new play clock, plus perhaps a timeout, to refocus, and by the way start to prepare for a new play. Hockey players do not have this luxury.

In addition to the lack of transition opportunity, one could argue that going minute to minute prevents you from maintaining focus - too much "the segment is ending. the segment just ended. a new segment is starting. repeat". Is this part of the problem - we are taking the victory of winning a period or just five minutes and forgetting its part of a bigger picture? Again, while my work process is vastly different than a professional hockey player, I question if one truly can shake something off in nano-seconds and reset that quickly. Just a question of human nature. You do have to be able to hit the reset button but are we now trying to do it too fast?

I do not know the answer to this quandry. Arguably, when the season started, I thought the "one game at a time" approach was good. Perhaps we should stick to that. With issues of mental toughness, let's hang the carrot at the end of what does in fact matter and that's an ENTIRE GAME, versus breaking it down into far too many segments that may in fact be too easy to lose and too difficult from which to recover.

2 comments:

  1. 1 game at a time makes a lot more sense

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  2. Your thought about the different sports was very interesting A baseball pitcher sometimes takes longer to throw a pitch than an hockey line shift. BUT 20 seconds between goals????? Who can even fathom that let alone explain it?

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