By Josie Lemieux – Consultant – @HockeyPsyched – Mental toughness – Emotional control
The Bruins-Senators game Sunday afternoon was one I could not miss. First of all, no secret, the Ottawa Senators are my favorite Canadian team (that being written with all due respect to Habs’ coach Claude Julien). Second, it was a Sunday afternoon (or early evening) game at 5 ET.
Third, as a real hockey fan and foodie, I made my famous homemade pizza with sausage, pepperoni, onions and bacon.
Everything was running like a well-oiled machine.
Fourth, that game was the real deal. A clear demonstration of what hockey is all supposed to be about.
Discipline, energy all through the entire game, united lines, the will and the want to win.
From both sides.
Skating speed? Like a space shuttle after liftoff: full throttle.
Senators’ coach Guy Boucher knew exactly was he was against. Since Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman’s departures, and no captain assigned (excellent move), I believe he will keep on focusing on what he does best : elevate each player’s skills and insure proper team chemistry. Forget the empty seats, the Uber controversial video. Let the man work.
Boston coach Bruce Cassidy expected the best from his players even if they visited and won against Toronto the day before. With Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara out, he makes it very clear that the team must take on the lead that 33 and 37 left for a while. Some state that Cassidy should be fired. Let them talk.
Two crowds were cheering in the arena. Red and white, black and gold. Now that is a cool atmosphere.
Senators’ goalie Mike McKenna was outstanding, as well as Bruins’ Tuukka Rask. Unbelievable saves, smooth but calculated moves, acute reflexes. Nothing less. Nothing seemed to break their concentration. And it never did.
I never get tired of watching Senators’ Ryan Dzingel, Mark Stone, Zack Smith, Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, got impressed by newcomer Brady Tkachuk, son of former NHLer Keith, and Thomas Chabot. I would pay to watch him play anywhere in the world.
I always enjoy the work provided by Bruins’ John Moore, adored seeing newcomer Gemel Smith wrestle for the puck for a minute that seemed to last forever. He adapted at the speed of light, knows exactly how to fit in. Charlie McAvoy was healthy and ready, Pastrnak, Krejci, Krug, Donato and company were on a mission.
Even the unusual was a part of the game when Bruins’ Brad Marchand tripped and collided with referee Chris Schlenker (below both keens), who was leaning against the boards. Since Marchand is pesty but light at 5’9¨ and 180 pounds, Schlenker can be grateful it was not Zdeno Chara at 6’9¨ and 250 pounds or Senators’ Ben Harpur at 6’6¨ and 222 pounds. He could not have gotten up.
The cherry on top of that? Overtime. Energetic-action packed 3 on 3.
Bruins’ Torey Krug decided at 3:07 that it was enough. David Krejci and Brad Marchand assisted him. Senators’ goalie Mike McKenna left the ice quickly, clearly discontent, as the crowd booed and cheered simultaneously for the Sens who lost and the Bruins who took the victory but not without a fight.
Simple, basic hockey. Forechecking, team chemistry, a few power plays, great saves and a cheering crowd.
The real deal.
And when I cheer secretly for both Bruins and Senators, rest assured, I do get tormented, drained and torn apart. I gotta watch out for myself. But I mean it in the most amusing, emotional and caring way.