Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Results Will Come

from Bobby Ryan of The Players' Tribune,

Before training camp started last September, I sat down with Coach Boucher and for about two hours we talked hockey. Some of it was specific to our team, but much of it was a broader discussion about hockey philosophy. What makes a good team tick? What causes a talented roster to fail? How do you construct a consistently good power play?

He told me that if our team was going to succeed, we needed reliable “net guys.” For his system to work, he needed players who could do the dirty work in front of the goalie and behind the net in order to set up chances. I agreed with it, but didn’t realize he was implying that he wanted me to step into that role. Once training camp began and he started putting me in those situations, it became clear that I was going to need to alter my game pretty drastically.

That wasn’t easy for me to do. For most of my life, I’ve been asked to make plays by floating to the outside and putting pucks on net. Suddenly I was being asked to be more physical and screen goalies to help set up chances for other guys.

That meant fewer scoring opportunities for myself, which, for most of my career — and according to people at the grocery store — me not scoring has meant failure. There were stretches this year where I’d be doing everything the team asked of me, and doing it fairly well, but I wouldn’t show up on the score sheet for four or five games at a time. At one point, I went 16 games without a goal, which felt awful.

But I stuck with it, because I knew that I was part of something more. I had seen what this team was like when I was a sniper and honestly, it wasn’t bad… but it also wasn’t great. In that first meeting, Coach told me that things were going to change around here, and that if I was willing to buy into it — to truly buy in and change the way I played the game — the results would come.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bobby+ryan

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com