By Josie Lemieux – Consultant – @HockeyPsyched – Mental toughness – Emotional control
Thursday’s game between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks can be resumed in a few words: Vancouver demonstrated what team coordination and mental focus is.
Without discrediting the Bruins’ efforts to gain control of the game, especially with two goals by Jake Debrusk, Canucks adapted the very basics of hockey, from start to finish: synch.
Even better, Canucks showed the Bruins they didn’t mind being on their turf, on their home ice.
Since the Bruins’ Stanley Cup in 2011 against those same Canucks, those two teams are still at war. Something is still not quite right. And not settled. It’s not written anywhere, but you can feel it. Loss and frustration can turn into positive strength. A Stanley Cup can turn into unconscious overconfidence even when you play in your hometown.
Don’t get me wrong, Canucks had and still have their share of bad plays. But yesterday night, synch was shelled:
They knew where they were and who they were up against.
They didn’t wait for something to happen. They made it happen.
They did not wait for the perfect opportunity. They charged both Halak and Rask, who tried to help teammates by leaving his net empty and offer a goal to the enemy.
They marked their men. Basic hockey.
They never allowed to play on low energy.
They were synchronized in their body checking, control and passing systems.
They did not mind the hostile crowd.
They remained calm and kept faith in their goalie Jacob Markström.
After each Bruins goal, nothing seemed distressed on the bench. Sure, frustration tried to set in. But no.
They let it pass right through them.
Near the end of the game, Canuck’s Darren Archibald closed the books, fought and knocked Bruins’ Torey Krug (who rightfully defended a teammate) on the ice, with the following message:
¨ Tonight, we ruled. So that you know ¨.
Team dynamics are crucial no matter where you are. No matter who you are.
Costly turnovers and tough love are always the most memorable and effective lessons.