KNOW YOUR ROLE

Jason Strudwick
November 24 2011 03:34PM

Last week Archaeology asked a great question about players accepting different roles on a team. This is an interesting topic that GMs, Coaches and players alike wrestle with every year.

Growing up every kid playing street hockey dreams of being who they think is the best player in the NHL. Before each game we can all remember calling out "I'm Messier! I'm Bossy or I'm Crosby!"

Each generation has it's own group of heroes and we all wanted to be just like them. 

But can you remember anyone yelling out the equally important "I'm Hunter, I'm Talbot  or I'm Yelle?"

WHO DAT

Who you ask? I am talking about Dave Hunter, Maxime Talbot and Stephan Yelle. These guys are Stanley Cup winners and were very important role players contributing to their teams success. They are examples of players who accepted and excelled at a certain role.

Successful teams are made up of a group of players that all have different skill sets. You need your top end skill players - think Jagr and Richards. Then you'll need your grinders - Cooke and Holmstrom. Finally sprinkle in some penalty killers for good measure like Draper and Maltby.

These are just a few of the roles on a team. As we all know there are others. They are easy to identify.

The hard part is finding the players to fill those spots and most importantly getting them to accept the role a GM and Coach want them to fill.

KNOW YOUR ROLE

Coaches love that line. If their expectations for you are to check or score or hit then every game you had better bring it. Coaches will often sit down with young, newly acquired or lost players to explain to them how they fit into the team concept and their role on the team.

It is then up to the player to digest this conversation and deliver on it.

Players don't always get the message. They are either unable to fulfill the role due to a lack of ability or they are unwilling. The first you can forgive a guy for, the second you cannot.

In my experience I have noticed that if you fall into the first category the coach will adjust your role assuming you are working hard. The second group of guys finds their way to the scrap heap. Nobody wants players who are uncoachable.

As this year keeps moving along watch for the teams that are having success. It will be a group of players accepting both the Coaches system and their roles.

Each player has to give up some of himself to make it work but it is worth it to hold up Lord Stanley in June.

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
Avatar
#1 geoilersgist
November 24 2011, 03:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

my fist strudwick post

Avatar
#2 Matt Henderson
November 24 2011, 03:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
4
props

Thanks for addressing my question Jason!

Where did you find my yearbook photo?

Avatar
#3 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 24 2011, 03:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props
Matt Henderson wrote:

Thanks for addressing my question Jason!

Where did you find my yearbook photo?

Captain obvious's head just exploded.

Avatar
#4 freeze
November 24 2011, 03:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

How was the first game(s), Jason?

Avatar
#5 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 24 2011, 03:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Struds...

Great, informative article once again. Hope your finding and excelling in your role (high scoring D, right?) in the SEL!

Oh and... you have no idea the can of worms you have just resealed. Thank you.

Avatar
#6 RexLibris
November 24 2011, 03:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Thanks for the read Jason, I think the hard part for many fans to realize is that most of the people who make the NHL do it through a combination of effort and a pretty fair bit of skill. So when a player has trouble adjusting from a scoring or offensive player to a depth "role" player we don't have the patience to understand that it probably requires a significant change in the way that player sees themself.

Players can be drafted as pluggers and crashers, but to get to the point of being drafted they had to be able to do quite a few other things well enough to play the game. Then, as is so often said, in order to stay in the game at the pro level (AHL, NHL) they need to redefine their perceptions of themselves to become what some would describe, falsely in my opinion, as a lesser light. The difficulty Andrew Cogliano had when faced with comments that he should model himself after Todd Marchant in order to carve out a niche and extend his career is an example.

Thanks for article again, Jason. Best of luck in Sweden.

Avatar
#7 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 24 2011, 03:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Captain obvious's head just exploded.

I believe you'll find it was the good Captain

Avatar
#8 Matt Henderson
November 24 2011, 03:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Romulus' Apotheosis

Yes, it was Captain Obvious who didnt believe in Roles.

Avatar
#9 jeanshorts
November 24 2011, 03:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props

"The second group of guys finds their way to the scrap heap. Nobody wants players who are uncoachable."

Rob Schremp, currently with 7 whole goals in the Swedish Elite League! TOTALLY MacT's fault, right you guys?

Avatar
#10 Mac962
November 24 2011, 03:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Jason,

Off topic a bit. How Difficult is it as a pro athelete,even though you are doing what you love.and getting paid well to do it, and you guys are in excellant shape to get up for each and every game ? Dont some days like the vast majority of us lol, You feel like vegging on the couch ?

Topic for another day perhaps but give us a pro insight into what it takes to be at or expect to be at your best each and every day.

Good Luck in Sweden. But i still wont take you in my Euro pool. JK

Avatar
#11 Jason Gregor
November 24 2011, 04:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props
freeze wrote:

How was the first game(s), Jason?

He sent me an email about the game...

"First game I got hit from behind. I thought Swedes were supposed to be nice. Guess not."

A few years ago when Barch ran Strudwick from behind, the next game he went right up to him and fought him. I wonder if he'll do the same in Sweden...I might have to find a stream for that game...

Avatar
#12 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 24 2011, 04:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I believe you'll find it was the good Captain

Ah yes... better go back and edit.

I guess "roles" aren't so obvious after all.

Avatar
#13 justDOit
November 24 2011, 04:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props

@jeanshorts

And Nilsson, who was recently waived by his KHL team!

Avatar
#14 Wanye
November 24 2011, 04:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props
Matt Henderson wrote:

Thanks for addressing my question Jason!

Where did you find my yearbook photo?

That's on this guy

*points with thumbs oh so proudly*

Avatar
#15 Wanye
November 24 2011, 04:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props
justDOit wrote:

And Nilsson, who was recently waived by his KHL team!

So he's available??

Avatar
#16 Dyckster
November 24 2011, 04:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I'd imagine a large majority of the skaters who play in the NHL were substantial point producers on their Midget AAA and/or Junior teams. It's gotta a be a tough transition when they get to the show and discover, for what ever reason, they're unable to duplicate that type of production as a pro. Those KIDS who were junior phenoms, who turn into MEN that can win a face-off, kill a penalty, shut down the other team's top line, and so on, are pretty special as far as I'm concerned.

Avatar
#17 Duke
November 24 2011, 04:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Jagr and Richards

The Glimmer Twins?

Avatar
#18 justDOit
November 24 2011, 04:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Wanye

And would probably do better than Gagner playing wing! I KNEW I could fit Gags into the comments.

Avatar
#20 OilFan
November 24 2011, 04:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
justDOit wrote:

And would probably do better than Gagner playing wing! I KNEW I could fit Gags into the comments.

Speaking of Gagner has he changed his role from plug to enforcer ?

Avatar
#21 justDOit
November 24 2011, 04:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@OilFan

He has fought before, although it is rare. I would rather see him show some of that toughness during play, and not risking a long-term hand/wrist injury in a pointless fight.

I think he just wanted a 5 minute rest!

Avatar
#22 OilFan
November 24 2011, 04:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

@justDOit

Yeah I like the fact he is trying to get him self motivated he's had suck a rough start to the season

Avatar
#23 justDOit
November 24 2011, 04:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Jason Strudwick

Maybe you could try this on future bus trips?

http://imgur.com/uflGt

Avatar
#24 justDOit
November 24 2011, 04:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@OilFan

Is that a Freudian typo?

Avatar
#25 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 24 2011, 05:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props

**pulls up chair and eagerly awaits Moneypucks post trying to explain his Turco idea to someone who has actually, you know, played at the pro level**

Avatar
#26 Wanyes bastard child
November 24 2011, 05:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props

**Sits beside cableguy, offers beer, and eagerly awaits captain obvious's post of why there are no roles in the NHL to someone that's played there.**

Avatar
#27 Matt Henderson
November 24 2011, 05:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Jason Strudwick

No European bus, but I did find myself riding (trapped) on an Ecuadorian bus from the Andean city of Quito to a Coastal town called Puerto Lopez.

There was no bathroom, unless you count your own shorts. And believe me, when you look out and down from your bus window and see that your wheels are hanging over a cliff that has no bottom, your shorts will become the bathroom.

Avatar
#28 Rama Lama
November 24 2011, 05:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Jason you have a point with this "role players". My question is what if you have a coach that does not tell you what your role should be?

Take for example the Oilers.......should Magnus, Jones, Belenger, and at least six other forwards be playing a shut down role! Do these players have that in their game to start with? Should players with speed and attack be putting these skills aside and turn into role players? Or should the coach recognize skill and match it according to what is required on the team.

Magnus has not embraced the role of a shut down guy........and I'm not sure he should. What role should the coach play in developing this type of player? Keep putting him where he cannot excel is not the answer in my mind.

Just look at you.......you were a top two defenseman and he had you as the seventh guy............just kidding on the last point!

Avatar
#29 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 24 2011, 05:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props
Wanyes bastard child wrote:

**Sits beside cableguy, offers beer, and eagerly awaits captain obvious's post of why there are no roles in the NHL to someone that's played there.**

*** saxaphone music starts playing in the backrou... wait, wrong site***

Avatar
#30 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 24 2011, 05:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

*** saxaphone music starts playing in the backrou... wait, wrong site***

****what do you mean wrong site? This site is very sax friendly. Come for the sax, stay for the sax!****

Avatar
#31 freeze
November 24 2011, 05:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Jason Strudwick

@Jason Gregor

Thanks for the update! I hope your next game goes better, Struds! I say deck the guy next time.

Avatar
#32 ubermiguel
November 24 2011, 05:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I think some coaches are too rigid in what the roles on a team should be (I need 3 scoring forwards 6"+, 3 forwards under 6", 3 shut down guys, etc etc). I look at Bowman as a guy who shaped the team around the players he had. He had success with wildly diferent teams in every era since expansion because he worked with the players strengths not against them.

Avatar
#33 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 24 2011, 05:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Jason Strudwick wrote:

I let it slide when someone suggested last week that the Oilers trade Devan D. and then go and sign Turko. That is just a bad idea. But who is this Captain that says he doesn't believe in ROLES? I get not believing in Santa or maybe believing that we didn't actually make it to the moon, but no roles in Hockey?

It would be just as difficult to win with a whole team of Brad Richards as it would of Jody Shelleys. A team is like a car that needs a whole bunch of different parts to work. They are required.

I did get run from behind last night. I wasn't happy about it but also I didn't want to look like a Canadian goon by going nuts in my first game. I am sure it was what some people expected.

The atmosphere in the rink is incredible. Constant cheers and chants. I didn't think it was possible for 3500 fans to make so much noise.

Has anyone ever been on a European bus? I have never seen such a small bathroom on a bus in my life. Honestly, unless you are less than 5 feet tall there is no way you can fit!

RE: Roles.... You are about to be told how unsophisticated your thoughts are, how your thinking is illogical and how roles are impossible. Because, you know, there are only good players, bad players and positions. Those are the only distinctions apparently worth making in team sports.

RE: Hits from behind... did you take your own advise and "protect your neck"? I sure hope so. This post was pretty lucid so I guess your brain is ok! But, did you make the play? and... did you draw a penalty and make them pay? I sure hope so!

RE: Euro buses... been on many a European bus but luckily avoided their WCs. Leg room is always an issue though. Trains are a whole other ball game. The range in quality is stark! But I gather teams don't travel on trains.

Oh and stay out of the pastry shops... you've got your figure to worry about!

Avatar
#34 Quicksilver ballet
November 24 2011, 05:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Thanks for not lambasting me last week Jason on that goalie issue. Your willingness to let it slide tells me i'm not far off for a hockey club going through an extensive rebuild like the Oilers are. 18 wins as a pro and a collective .905 save% in his 2+ seasons doesn't scream future No.1 goaltender to me. Maybe you could allow us a little insight into what's expected of the goaltenders when losing was an acceptable outcome the last 2 seasons as far as management was concerned?

If it made the Oilers a better hockey club this year or next i'm sure a move like this would be considered. I know he was and may eventually again be a teammate of yours Jason and your opinion is probably one sided on this issue. If Devan was a make or break player in a deal that would make the Oilers a better hockey club long term, he should be available and outta here as far as i'm concerned. Support goaltenders as well as starters can be picked up readily every July 1st. Am i way off base here, do i need to put my goalie can on in fear of retribution?

Avatar
#35 justincider
November 24 2011, 05:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Sorry off topic, but I was wondering if someone here could enlighten me as to why Canuck fans are sometimes referred to as " Dys " fans? I asked a buddy who cheers for those tools, but he had no clue either. Thanks in advance.

Avatar
#36 justDOit
November 24 2011, 06:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Quicksilver ballet

It's pretty difficult (impossible) to pin 100% of those stats on DD though. Any goalie of a 30th place team will look bad, statistically. But consider that in the games that DD started last year, he was almost .500 (12 13 8)! The worst team in the league was almost .500 when he started in net. That's more important than his .902 sv%.

Avatar
#37 Wax Man Riley
November 24 2011, 06:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Thanks for not lambasting me last week Jason on that goalie issue. Your willingness to let it slide tells me i'm not far off for a hockey club going through an extensive rebuild like the Oilers are. 18 wins as a pro and a collective .905 save% in his 2+ seasons doesn't scream future No.1 goaltender to me. Maybe you could allow us a little insight into what's expected of the goaltenders when losing was an acceptable outcome the last 2 seasons as far as management was concerned?

If it made the Oilers a better hockey club this year or next i'm sure a move like this would be considered. I know he was and may eventually again be a teammate of yours Jason and your opinion is probably one sided on this issue. If Devan was a make or break player in a deal that would make the Oilers a better hockey club long term, he should be available and outta here as far as i'm concerned. Support goaltenders as well as starters can be picked up readily every July 1st. Am i way off base here, do i need to put my goalie can on in fear of retribution?

~I say we trade RNH now while his value is high so we can get a top 4 D and some more bullets for Stu. Get a couple 18 year olds that take us to the promised land.~

;p

Avatar
#38 Quicksilver ballet
November 24 2011, 06:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
justDOit wrote:

It's pretty difficult (impossible) to pin 100% of those stats on DD though. Any goalie of a 30th place team will look bad, statistically. But consider that in the games that DD started last year, he was almost .500 (12 13 8)! The worst team in the league was almost .500 when he started in net. That's more important than his .902 sv%.

Not sure if this is way off base but the games Devan has participated in the last two seasons. Losing was the expected/anticipated outcome. Games are easier to play when expectations are at an alltime low like they have been here the last couple seasons. With an 80% turnover of the roster over the 2009/10,2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, can progress really even be measured under those circumstances?

Avatar
#39 Quicksilver ballet
November 24 2011, 06:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Wax Man Riley wrote:

~I say we trade RNH now while his value is high so we can get a top 4 D and some more bullets for Stu. Get a couple 18 year olds that take us to the promised land.~

;p

Cannot do that for you Wax Man. 4,14,93 and 94 are off limits sir. Burn it to the ground buddy.

Avatar
#40 Quicksilver ballet
November 24 2011, 06:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

...and here we go...

Avatar
#41 Wax Man Riley
November 24 2011, 06:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Cannot do that for you Wax Man. 4,14,93 and 94 are off limits sir. Burn it to the ground buddy.

I'm just messin' with you, Money (what happened to Quicks??).

The result of being locked in an office with nothing to do so close to the holiday season. Don't mind me if I take an extra poke here or there.

Arch is next with Omark. Brownlee is after with Bull balls on his car, and madjam.... well, I'll just let him be.

Avatar
#42 Wax Man Riley
November 24 2011, 06:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Quicksilver ballet

Can I still call you Quicks? I'm slow to adopt change. It frightens me.

The Oilers are starting to look like a winning team. This is more change than I can handle and find myself inebriated, and wandering naked down Jasper in disbelief waaaaay too many times lately.

Avatar
#43 justDOit
November 24 2011, 06:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Quicksilver ballet

Truedat. But we can't just assume that DD won't grow as a person and player either.

Do you not like DD?

He's young, HUGE - FR!K#N HUGE, has got great mechanics and reflexes, and I think he's shown to be learning the game well. Give him some starts this season and I think we'll see him continue to improve.

Maybe I should ask what your value on DD is? What players/picks in return would make it worth putting him on the block?

Avatar
#44 PutzStew
November 24 2011, 06:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Hey Jason. Intriguing article. One question. Do coaches assign roles to players? I wondered this in the past watching players like cogliano but watching the play of PRV and Gagner this year really has me wondering. PRV especially seems to be some what lost. How does the coach handle this? I don't imagin he wants to see him fail but at the same time how can he let him look so lost at times?

Avatar
#45 Quicksilver ballet
November 24 2011, 07:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Wax Man, yes sir, Somebodyfnkillme works as well as the Illiterate Merderer. I'll make an effort to narrow it down this season. There's just so many options, can't make up my mind.

@justDOit. Whenever i see Devan in a game when there's something to be lost, he comes up short. Like this season, the games hold a little more meaning with a playoff spot still being a possibility... and he goes 2-4 out of the gate (now 3-4). I prefer Khabby play goal but as long as Devan wins in his backup role i'm okay with him. Just win baby. Winning shuts everyone up. Losing, as always invites criticism. The Oilers would've faired much better last trip if they started 35 in Boston and followed with Doobey in Detroit. My 2 cents from the cheap seats.

Avatar
#46 justDOit
November 24 2011, 07:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

The seats may be cheap, but they're all a part of the cheer. When they're winning, at least.

You're very correct about goalies being available in free agency and via trades, but when you have a prospect who is a 1st round pick, I think that you have to invest more time and patience in their development. This season could be make or break for him though.

Although I don't wish injury on NK/DD, I would like to see Danis called up this year. He is reportedly playing very well so far.

Avatar
#47 FastOil
November 24 2011, 09:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

You are all aware that: A) most goalies take forever to develop and are inconsistent, and

B) the Bruins were shopping Thomas not long before they won the Cup - oops

Right?

While there are better and worse players on a team, a "role" is the duty a player is asked to perform for his team. Think Olympics where NHL stars are asked to play a role, like 3rd or 4th line instead of the 1st they are used to, because they aren't the best player at the moment on the team.

How do you think Canada could win gold or anything else if everyone was squabbling and causing problems because they thought they deserved more?

Every player on every NHL team Struds is saying is asked to play a role, and I am sure it changes based on the coach, GM and performance.

Avatar
#48 Jay
November 25 2011, 12:14AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

when i heard Hunter i thought they meant Tim Hunter and i was thinking WTF

Avatar
#49 Jerk Store
November 25 2011, 06:20AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Jay

I was thinking Tommy Hunter, so I was really messed up ... And old!

Avatar
#50 Milli
November 25 2011, 08:03AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Remember Cogliano saying he didn't like the Marchant commonts......I'd love to have half a Marchant carreer! Good luck in Sweden Struds!!

Comments are closed for this article.