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 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.