I don’t care if you a girls hockey player or not, anyone who considers themselves a hockey fan was watching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final on Friday night. And while I am still upset about the result (I am not very popular here in Toronto as a Wings fan), it was a great game with an even better ending. I wanted to share with you 7 things I learned in Game 7 (other than the fact that Osgood clearly showed way to much glove side on that second Pittsburgh goal).
Here are the 7 things I learned from Game 7 – and how they apply to women’s hockey:
1. You don’t need to be the “best” to be the best when it counts.
I’m not sure that many people had Maxime Talbot pegged as the game-breaker in Game 7, but he definitely delivered. When it was all on the line, he delivered. It’s great to be one of the “go-to” players during the season and be on the ice every other shift…but do you show up when it counts? You don’t need to be the best all the time to be a great female hockey player, but you need to step up when it counts.
2. Don’t wait to the last minute.
Detroit waited to long to get their act together. On paper, they were the stronger team. But they didn’t look nearly as hungry or ready out of the gate. Whether it is waiting until the third period to get your act together on the ice, or waiting until two weeks before the season starts to get in hockey shape, procrastination doesn’t work.
3. All the little things count.
Blocking shots, finishing checks and winning face-offs are the keys to success on the ice. Warming up, cooling down and stretching at night are the keys to success off the ice. They aren’t as “sexy” or “fun” as scoring on a breakaway, sniping the top corner from the point or making a huge glove save, but they might just be more important.
4. You have to earn your luck.
You had to love it when Marc-Andre Fleury gave a little love tap to his crossbar after it made a huge save for him late in the game. We all need a little bit of luck out there on the ice, but the luckiest players are usually the ones who work the hardest. You can’t rely on luck but you can make yourself look lucky by always outworking the competition.
5. Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.
Everyone knows Crosby and Malkin. But not many people know Scuderi or Orpik. Even though those two defensemen had some of the best games in their lives in Game 6 and 7, they still fly under the radar. It’s nice to always get the glory, but it’s that much sweeter when you know that you know you’ve really earned it.
6. It all comes back to family.
One of the on-ice post-game asked each of the Pittsburgh players who they shared the victory with other than their teammates. Every single one of them talked about the importance of their family. As my former coach, the late great Dave McMaster used to always say, “Family first, school second and sport third”. Keep things in perspective and remember what’s really important in life.
7. Don’t be afraid to celebrate your successes.
Whether you are winning the most famous hockey trophy in the world, getting a 90% average in school or setting a new push-up record, remember to take a moment to savor your successes on and off the ice – and then get back to work
The keys to success in the men’s game are no different than in women’s hockey.
Ultimately, it all boils to working hard and dreaming BIG.
Your friend and coach,