1. Standard memberuzless
    The So Fist
    Voice of Reason
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    07 Jul '09 16:005 edits
    Lately, while playing in my weekly pick-up hockey games i've taken to analyzing the various playing styles of the guys I play with. While sitting on the bench waiting for your next shift, you are afforded ample time to watch how each player reads and reacts to situations on the ice. You start to notice things, patterns of behaviour and propensities for risk taking.

    In particular, i've taken an interest in the player that I call the "difference maker". This type of player is usually thought of, at least in the NHL, as a high skill player that can turn a game around for his team. Perhaps deke a couple of guys and blast a blistering slapshot over the shoulder of the goalie. Think Alex Ovechkin, Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafluer type guys.

    In pick-up hockey though, the "difference maker" seems to be quite a different animal. This player is not the best player on the ice. He isn't the worst player on the ice. Instead, he is the player that is out of control. Sure, he can skate pretty well, and his shot while not pretty looking is effective in a sledgehammer hitting drywall kind of way. He tends to hustle and is the first after the puck when it goes into the corner and, hell, he might even back-check (a rare occurence in pick-up games). With a description like this you might consider this type of player to be a desireable asset to your team and one of the better players on the ice...hell, he might even seem to be the best player on the ice!

    If only this were true. The reality is this type of player is the most dangerous player on the ice. He is the type of player that the truly good players despise. He isn't despised for his lack of effort. Quite the contrary, he is admired by the truly good players for this effort....most players dont' put out any real effort. But this admiration is quickly put aside when the truly good player steps on the ice. You see, this "difference maker" cannot play what most good players understand is the number one rule in pick-up hockey...You must, at all times, play "under control". You MUST, not raise your stick above your head, you must keep all your shots below the cross-bar, if you are going to poke-check you MUST not miss and end up with your stick in the other players skates. When you go into a corner after the puck and another player is beside you, you MUST not do anything to make him fall down and go tumbling into the boards.

    The "difference maker" in pick up games doesn't understand this. He just puts his head down and thinks he has to go all out. He has no concern or regard for the other players and has no clue that his actions, while technically not wrong, are dangerous to the other players.

    Inevitably, his stick or skates will knock another player down, the other player will get angry at being knocked down but the "difference maker" won't understand why the other player is angry. He thinks it's all just part of the game, like it is on tv. He doesn't understand that if the truly good players played pick up hockey "like it is on tv" his face would be put through the boards after about 3 minutes of his reckless play. Good players will back off and give the "difference maker" a wide berth and may even appear to not be good players because they have to alter their play in order to compensate for the danger caused by this reckless player.

    Hockey players police themselves. Reckless players do not. Reckless players don't even know they are reckless. I've tried to convey this concept in friendly conversation after the games to these players but they just look at you with blank faces, mouths slightly ajar, eyes staring at you but not understanding you.

    Passion, sometimes, needs to be harnessed, contained and released in measured amounts at measured times. Results are not always obtained by those who set out to achieve them. The real "difference makers" are the ones that recognize the failures in others and alter course in order to avoid the inevitable.
  2. Standard memberkaroly aczel
    the Devil himself
    Brisbane,QLD
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    11 Jul '09 20:29
    Originally posted by uzless
    Lately, while playing in my weekly pick-up hockey games i've taken to analyzing the various playing styles of the guys I play with. While sitting on the bench waiting for your next shift, you are afforded ample time to watch how each player reads and reacts to situations on the ice. You start to notice things, patterns of behaviour and propensities for risk ...[text shortened]... ilures in others and alter course in order to avoid the inevitable.
    So is there any Zen in ice hockey? Or did I miss something?
    (nice insight though)
  3. Joined
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    14 Jul '09 20:212 edits
    Originally posted by uzless
    Lately, while playing in my weekly pick-up hockey games i've taken to analyzing the various playing styles of the guys I play with. While sitting on the bench waiting for your next shift, you are afforded ample time to watch how each player reads and reacts to situations on the ice. You start to notice things, patterns of behaviour and propensities for risk ilures in others and alter course in order to avoid the inevitable.
    I wonder what you'd see in the NHL if they eliminated penalties? 😀

    As it is, every NHL team has a couple of goons whose main purpose is to keep certain kinds of "difference makers" in their place
  4. Standard memberuzless
    The So Fist
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    16 Jul '09 15:174 edits
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    So is there any Zen in ice hockey? Or did I miss something?
    The last paragraph!

    The "difference maker's" team may win the game but it's not because of his play. It's because the truly good player on the other team had to alter his play to keep everyone safe. If the good players were to challenge the difference maker for the puck, someone would go down and it would likely be the "difference maker".

    In business and in life, there are people that set out to acheive goals (to win). Sometimes, even though you may in fact "win", it isn't always because you caused it to happen. Sometimes, other people have allowed you to win for the sake of the greater good.

    The "result" you end up with isn't always realized just because YOU set out to acheive it. Sometimes you succeed in one area because you failed in another area.... Are hollow victories still victories?
  5. Joined
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    16 Jul '09 16:22
    Originally posted by uzless


    In business and in life, there are people that set out to acheive goals (to win). Sometimes, even though you may in fact "win", it isn't always because you caused it to happen. Sometimes, other people have allowed you to win for the sake of the greater good.

    in your example, the lesson seems to be that "other people have allowed you to win because they were cowards" -- the "difference maker" is allowed to prevail because no one is willing to get in the guy's face and tell him he needs to rein it in before someone gets hurt or else be excluded from future pickup games.

    But it is very true in business and in life that all too often "bad people" get away with wreaking havoc because the "good people" do nothing to stop it.
  6. Standard memberuzless
    The So Fist
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    16 Jul '09 21:06
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    in your example, the lesson seems to be that "other people have .
    There is a difference between a coward and a person who chooses their battles. We all have our own personal sliding scales about what things are important in life. If you are a good player, is it really necessary to step up and make the play but risk hurting this player, or is it better to give him a bit of room and contain him? At the end of the day, does it really matter who won a pick-up game?

    The bigger picture I was talking to was about questioning your own performance. Did you succeed based on merit or did you succeed because of your failure?
  7. Joined
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    17 Jul '09 13:08
    Originally posted by uzless
    There is a difference between a coward and a person who chooses their battles. We all have our own personal sliding scales about what things are important in life. If you are a good player, is it really necessary to step up and make the play but risk hurting this player, or is it better to give him a bit of room and contain him? At the end of the day, doe ...[text shortened]... our own performance. Did you succeed based on merit or did you succeed because of your failure?
    I see your point, I think.

    Seems this would apply very much to politics. The person who wins election is often (almost always?) not the most talented person, but the one who's most willing to "play dirty". No one likes the barrage of negative ads that dominate every campaign, but those ads appear to work extremely well in most cases. No one likes the empty promises or the one-sided arguments, but that's what seems to win the votes.

    The "best candidate" is probably someone who has standards of basic decency and honesty -- someone who'd be very wary of taking cheapshots at their opponent or making promises that are impossible to keep -- someone who'd have almost no chance of winning. Much like the "truly good hockey players" who are very wary about putting other people at risk and hence will always lose to a team of reckless "difference makers".
  8. Standard memberuzless
    The So Fist
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    17 Jul '09 15:51
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    I see your point, I think.

    Seems this would apply very much to politics. The person who wins election is often (almost always?) not the most talented person, but the one who's most willing to "play dirty". No one likes the barrage of negative ads that dominate every campaign, but those ads appear to work extremely well in most cases. No one likes the e ...[text shortened]... people at risk and hence will always lose to a team of reckless "difference makers".
    now yer catchin on...
  9. Joined
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    17 Jul '09 16:17
    Originally posted by uzless
    now yer catchin on...
    So do you see any hope for the "truly good players"? -- Or do they at some point need to realize that "they have no choice but to cheat" if they want to win the game?
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