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Defining the Un-Definable

December 19, 2009

So deep.  I’ve been trying to figure out lately how important it is for people involved in hockey to be properly defined. Let’s start from the top of your friendly neighbourhood Edmonton Oilers; the ownership for Edmonton has seen a lot of ups and downs in the past decade, with Cal Nicholls recently stating that it was difficult to make decisions without a clearly defined boss-man. After Daryl Katz came to be defined as that boss man, other changes in titles, positions and pay grades ensued. Kevin Lowe would thereafter be defined as something other than General Manager, a role given to Steve Tambellini, whose defined position in Vancouver escapes me (fancy that). The Oilers had been attempting to re-re-create a heirarchy simliar to the Detroit Red Wings, a team that had much success because of the more-heads-are-better-than-one approach they had been taking towards managing a national hockey league franchise. It’s easy to say so far that Edmonton’s ripping off of Detroit’s super-secret plan isn’t really going according to plan.

Who the Boss is?

So Many Hyphens!

For some of the struggling Oilers, I wonder if it’s their lack of a definition that is holding them back from accomplishing something on the ice other than extra work for the zamboni. As we move down the ladder we again see an interesting case of clearly defined titles with the Oilers’ coaching staff. Pat Quinn was brought in at the beginning of the year to be the head coach with right-hand man Tom Renney defined as his associate coach. I like Tom Renney, he seems to be the only guy that is able to make a Gene Principe bench-side interview in the middle of a period not the most excrutiatingly awkward thing ever. I believe that eventually Pat Quinn will become the General Manager of this team and Tom Renney the Head Coach, but does that really change what they bring to the table? For Quinn, obviously it does, but for Renney and his future staff, will it change who they are and their style of coaching?

One time I had a dad ask me if I would make his son an assitant captain on the team. This dad and I got along alright, we were able to talk through our differences, but I told him that I would not be a suitable coach for the team if this decision was made for me (the dad was also the manager, you see). To force a definition upon this player would be unfair, I believed, though the counter argument was that he would accept the increased challeneg and raise his level of play.

Understanding defintions is obviously important for players as well. As I’ve written before, I was a third line quick skating type that could win faceoffs. Some players are grinders, some score goals, some do it all like a cheap lady o’ the night. If Robert Nillson could play an iota of defense would he have been getting the powerplay time early in the year instead of Patrick O’Sullivan? Probably, but it’s because Nillson has one job: points.He doesn’t need to waste his time with the PK because he sucks at it. Some people get punished for being good at one thing, and some get it handed to them because they can’t do anything else (soon I’m going post about an old job I had where I did a guy’s job for him and got extra, stimulating work because of it). For some of the struggling Oilers, I wonder if it’s their lack of a definition that is holding them back from accomplishing something on the ice other than extra work for the zamboni. O’Sullivan is supposedly an offensive player, but I believe that being stuck without a definable role right now is killing him. Which, if I was the coach, I would tell him to promptly shove his perceived lack of definition up his ass. Right up there. Whatever, if Nillson or O’Sullivan scores tonight against Washington then I’ll be singing a different tune in the morning. Probably right on key, too.

I’m trying to decide what type of coach I’d like to be. A coach I used to have one time took a baseball swing with a hockey stick in a dressing room and nearly decapitated a kid, so I think he was probably classified as a “tough” coach. years later he’d throw a waterbottle at a kid, his kid, and then tell him to find his own ride home (which I obliged), so it was then that I think I started to question whether you are able to decide what type of definition you’d like or if that definition found you. Player’s coach? Motivational? Border-line psychotic? Hopefully one of these fun definitions finds me before I’m that tired loser who wants to attach his name to a superstar kid coming up the ranks.

I'm Chris. (On the right.)

P.S. Who is the captain of the Washington Capitals? Oh of course it’s CHRIS CLARK. A google search yielded approximately one picture of him in about 490 pages. I like Chris Clark, but holy eff how does he lead? “Hey guy. Hey! Guy who can’t speak english! Keep doing what you’re doing!”

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