HAPPY NEW YEAR!
As a fan, this should be one of the days that you look at as part of the New Year for your team. Opening night is certainly where the rubber meets the road, but this weekend for the National Hockey League is about renewal. It is about taking the time to formulate your plan for success and then further executing it by drafting talent that hopefully will be with your organization not just for next season, but for upwards of the next decade.
For the organization, like the Vancouver Canucks, this is more like getting back to the starting line. Jim Benning and Trevor Linden have a plan for this team, and it is about needing to transition the team from older to younger while maintaining a competitive balance.
We have already heard the rumblings of player movement concerning long standing players like Kevin Bieksa. Every year a team moves bodies, it is the nature of the beast. It is days like today that you need to remind yourself that while Kevin Bieksa may be a favorite player of yours, or Eddie Lack, you don’t cheer for the Vancouver Bieksas, you cheer for the Vancouver Canucks.
There has been a longstanding tradition among equipment managers and Head Coaches in the NHL. On nights that the coach really needs to get his team on the same page, he may go to the equipment manager and ask that when the jerseys are hung in the stalls of the dressing room, they have the crest facing out, not the name plate.
Every player knows where he sits in that room, the focus needs to be on the team.
Hockey fans, remind yourselves of that tonight when you are watching the draft.
It’s about building the team, about elevating the expectations, and a Bieksa or other core guy being traded might not be what you want to see, but it may be necessary to the long term success of your team.