Petshark: Talking Stick
Entries with the tag: confidence
One does not simply walk into the NHL. To get there, your confidence has to overcome challenges as pesky as orcs, possibly as ferocious as uruk-hai. Certainly there's a spider big enough to suck the last drop of self-assurance out of you, you had to have seen her along the way. If a player makes it to the NHL, he has obviously lived to tell the tale.
Confidence is a funny thing, all made up of memories and habits and hormones, recent events and old. Oddly, it can be increased by the most ridiculous exercises. You can sit cross-legged on the floor, repeating things like "I am an attractive person, people will respond positively to me, they will help me achieve my goals." That sort of exercise can actually make you feel braver and more confident, even if your logical mind thinks it is a load of horse-poop. But that's all confidence is: a state of mind. If events from a week or a day ago can change how you see unrelated present events, isn't that as ridiculous as chanting self-praise? Ridiculous and inevitable.
Did the Sharks lack confidence through February? Well, obviously, but in what? What has been dragging them down? Have they dealt with "it" yet?
I had a thought yesterday morning, stemming from something one of the Bulls said to me weeks ago. He mentioned that the offensive game comes first for most players. They learn defense later with experience. It wasn't the first time I've heard that, but it took a while to sink in. Shouldn't shooting the puck be almost an involuntary reflex for a hockey player? Wouldn't it take a lot of un-training, or a horrible lack of confidence to suppress it?
Why would the Sharks lack confidence when they were passing the defense test with such high marks? Didn't they trust themselves yet? Were they still thinking too much?
Winning breeds winning. The Sharks defense is "winning," their offense isn't. It's easier to get your brain into a defensive or reactive mode when you lack confidence. Being aggressive or creative requires confidence, or such a lack of it that you feel fear, like a cornered animal. You don't want to be cornered. The execution of a cornered animal is about as precise as a cannon with one broken wheel. Fear, while it might make you go faster or be stronger, won't help with precision or missed passes. You know the ones I mean, those passes that leave the stick about two seconds before the brain registers "Wait, he's not on my team..."
Ray Emery playing well is never depressing for me. I was in the Emery Comeback Camp from the time I heard he was hoping to return from that hip surgery. I couldn't believe he'd make it back, but I was impressed that he wanted to do it. So part of me is always rooting for Emery. After the game, he was asked about the Sharks:
That's a great power play, those guys they put out there are a great group, so if we keep them off the board, it's a bonus.
Such a nice thing to say, even if it's not true.