opportunity

The Power Of The "Team"

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It never ceases to amaze me the power of a committed team.

In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that on many levels, the best “team” is usually the one that wins.

Winning in hockey isn’t usually talent based. Assuming that you’re playing in an appropriate league and level for your age and skill, winning occurs for the best “team”.

The group of 20 players that can come together, work for each other, and put the needs of the “team” first are the ones that will celebrating at the end.

The reality is that we all want to play every other shift, play on special teams, and be counted on in crucial situations.

However, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that’s not possible.

Like I’ve said before, there’s a reason you don’t have 4 first line centers…

It takes all types of players with different skill sets and talents to create a winning team.

But, more importantly, it takes a group who is willing to put their personal wants and desires on the back burner and the needs of the “team” on the front.

And this becomes the challenge of every team. It won’t work with half the team on board with this. It only works if all 20 are willing to buy into this mentality.

I can promise you that the memories you’ll make from buying in and putting your team first will always outweigh the personal achievements you may achieve.

So my challenge to all of you reading this is to genuinely put your teams needs first and your personal needs second and see how your outlook can change.

Attitude Is Everything

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Isn’t it amazing how far a good attitude can take you in life?

The same can be said with hockey.

Having a good attitude plays such a crucial role to the success of a team, and you as an individual.

It’s another one of those things that sounds so simple, and easy in theory, yet can often times be one of the more challenging aspects to a season.

We all have good days and bad, and most teams go through slumps and struggles throughout the course of the season. How we react during those times often makes the biggest difference, and can make those slumps shorter, and fewer and far between.

Like we’ve talked about on here before, how you mentally go into a game is going to make a huge difference towards the outcome. In other words, if you go in thinking you have no chance of winning, then chances are you’re right.

So how do you ensure that you have the right attitude everyday at the rink?

  1. Be there for the right reasons. Love what you’re doing, but also know that everyday isn’t going to be perfect. And that’s ok. But, if you can remember all the reasons why you love the game, it makes it a lot easier to keep your attitude positive.

  2. Keep things in perspective. Think about all the work you’ve put into the game and how lucky you are to get the opportunity to play the game you love.

  3. Enjoy the feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself. As we’ve talked about before, hockey is the ultimate team game. And, there’s nothing better than having 15 or 20 of your friends all working towards the same goals and achieving success together. Each person has a role and a responsibility to your team and teammates, make sure you’re coming through for them. And having a great attitude is a big part of that.

  4. Make sure you’re having fun. Regardless of how old you are, the game needs to be fun. If you can find fun at the rink, then it’s always a good day. Even if things aren’t going your way on a particular day, find a way to incorporate some fun into the day. Whether in the locker room, on the bench, or on the ice there’s always a way to bring some fun to the rink.

Focus your time and energy on your attitude because it’s another one of those things that’t entirely in your control. You can control your attitude everyday. And from my experience, the days where you can have a great attitude are always more successful than the days that you don’t.

Keep pushing towards the things you want and loving the game of hockey.

The Mental Battle All Hockey Players Face

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Be honest with yourself, have you ever felt like you were going to lose before you even played the game?

I’m guessing that if you’re being completely honest with yourself, then everyone reading this will be able to answer ‘yes’.

Isn’t it crazy the mind games we play with ourselves from time to time?

Whether we look at the team we’re playing and assume they’re better, or maybe we’ve lost to them in the past, or maybe we know some of the players on the other team and know how talented they are, or maybe it’s just that they’re physically bigger…

Whatever it may be, we’ve all played the mental battle with ourselves and put ourselves behind the ball before the game even starts.

It’s amazing to me as a coach how often I see this and how much this truly dictates the outcome of the game.

I’m a firm believer that if you go into a situation expecting to lose, or fail, you’re probably going to.

However, on the flip side, if you go into the situation knowing, and expecting, to win you’re already ahead of the curve.

I’ve been fortunate enough over the years to coach some very good, and successful, hockey teams.

When people ask me about what made those teams different, this is usually one thing that I always bring up right away. Those teams had the confidence, and swagger, to walk into the rink every night knowing and expecting to win.

They didn’t care who we were playing, they looked at it as that team had to come play us.

It truly played to our advantage.

You could sense, and see the intimidation on the opposing teams in warmups and that only added to our teams confidence.

In fact, I used to talk with my assistant coaches about how you could tell what type of game it was going to be that night depending how the other team showed up to the rink.

You could get a sense if they were focused, excited, and ready for the challenge, or, if they were just there because they had to and hoping to survive the next few hours.

It always amazes me how the mind tricks we play on ourselves really effects so much in our performance.

So what do you do with all this?

First off, don’t beat yourself before you even get started. Hockey, and life, is a competitive venture where realistically you’re not going to win every night. But, if you go in without the expectation of winning, you’re almost always guaranteeing your outcome.

Rise up to the challenge. If you’re playing a great team, visualize the victory. Know in your heart that you’re going to leave it all on the ice, and remember, that’s why we play the game. Think of all the amazing underdog stories you’ve heard about in sports throughout your life. Why did those happen? Because a team of people came together with the belief that they would be able to create greatness for that night.

Be prepared. It sounds simple, but it’s so true. Control the things that are in your power to control and make sure that you’re doing everything in your power to give you the best chance at being successful. Know that it won’t be easy, but challenging and pushing our limits is what makes us grow and get better.


On the flip side, if you’re a great team use that confidence to your advantage. Have a great warmup, start quick, and don’t give teams lacking confidence a chance to recover and think they have a chance.

Remember that your mind is an incredibly powerful tool.

It can be used to help you, or hurt you.

Make sure that it’s helping prepare you for the challenges you face and always go into every battle with the optimism that greatness is going to happen in your favor.

So to sum everything up in one statement, don’t beat yourself before the game even starts.

Midseason Self Reflection

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With the Christmas holiday right around the corner, it always seems like this is a natural stopping point to relax, get away from the game for at least a couple days, and evaluate yourself and your season so far.

As I have learned over the years, self reflection is another one of those invaluable tools that every player should utilize when possible.

It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of a season.

The workouts, the practices, the travel, the games… it truly can become a grind at times.

This also can lead to us forgetting about why we love the game and why we love getting on the ice everyday.

Gaining some perspective can help deal with this.

Like I’ve talked about on this blog before, taking a step back and having some perspective on the situation can make you appreciate everything so much more.

The time spent with friends and teammates, the competition, the freedom of being on the ice, and the camaraderie of being part of a team that’s all working towards the same goal are just a few of the things that make hockey so great.

And it’s important that we remind ourselves about these things from time to time.

So as the holiday season rolls around and you get a few days away from the rink, sit back and reflect on the season so far.

What has gone well?

What has gone poorly and can be improved upon?

What can you do to help your team be more successful?

And, what can you do, or continue to do, to be a great teammate?

I think if you can ask, and answer, these four questions honestly that it will give you some perspective on your hockey season and hopefully get you reinvigorated for the second half.

Enjoy the break, enjoy the process, and remember that every day is filled with new opportunities. And, it’s our job to make the most of every opportunity.

The Importance Of Understanding Your Role In Hockey

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As players get older and start playing on more competitive teams, things start to change. 

Ice time is no longer equal. 

Winning starts to be emphasized more. 

Different roles have to be filled by players in order to build a successful, and cohesive, team. 

Some people disagree with this thinking, some say they agree as long as there kid is still on the first line, and then there is the small minority who fully agrees with this reality. 

Personally, as long as it is age appropriate, I am 100% on board with this and think that being a part of a team that emphasizes those three ideas teaches a lot of valuable life lessons. 

The reality is that in the real world, life is not always fair. Someone is probably going to get a promotion or make more money than you at some point even though you think you deserve it more. 

I think that's one of the best lessons I ever learned throughout all my time in hockey. The importance of understanding your role and accepting it in order to make the group better. 

It's honestly a humbling and often difficult experience at first. 

Let's face it, we live in an often selfish, me-first, type of world these days. Sports and hockey are no different. 

Nearly everyone thinks that they should be on the first line, on the powerplay, and on the ice protecting the one goal lead late in the third. 

But the reality is, we all know that just isn't true. 

And here's the crazy part, THAT'S OK!!

We have this image in our head as hockey players that if we aren't the first line center then we aren't as good or important to our teams success. 

I'm here to tell you that is completely false. In fact, I would argue that you would have a hard time finding a really great hockey team at any level that didn't have a lot of depth, and role players, to go along with that top end talent. 

I look at some of the most successful teams I've ever coached. Those teams were recognized by outsiders because of a few of our top end offensive players, but when I look back at those teams I think about a couple of the stay at home defensemen who were so strong in our own zone and in front of our net. And I think about a few of the role players who's specialty became killing penalties and blocking shots. 

I'll be the first to admit, not the most glamorous jobs, but none the less absolutely vital to the success of our team. 

The reality is that you can't have four first line centers. You need to have that third line center who can shut down an opposing top offensive line and maybe occasionally chip in offensively. Just like you need that fourth line to be strong in the defensive zone and give you a few great shifts when the team needs it. 

I'm not saying that anyone should ever settle with their role, especially when still playing minor hockey. But, I am saying that you should embrace your role for whatever it is and make the most of it. You have to be able to look at it as doing your job and holding up your end of the bargain. 

For me, I have always related it to a wheel. Each player on the team is a different spoke on the wheel. When all 20 guys are doing their job, the wheel is strong and sturdy and rolls along smooth. When you have a few guys that aren't buying in, the wheel can still move and function, but it's not nearly as efficient. And when that road starts to get bumpy and tough, that's when that wheel will fail you. 

So whether you play every other shift or one shift a period, find a way to contribute. If you aren't getting a ton of ice time, be a great teammate. Encourage your teammates, pump them up, show them that you genuinely want them to succeed. I'm telling you that if you can learn to think this way you'll make it a hundred times further than if you don't. 

Remember that it takes all types to build a successful team. Make sure you're one of the spokes that's helping carry the weight. 

Practice How You Want To Play

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While I'm sure we've all heard the saying, "practice how you want to play", the truth behind that message still gets lost on a lot of players and teams. 

I always like to refer to this as the "magic switch". 

There's no such thing as a magic switch that you can just flip on as a player or team and instantly play your best (at least for 99% of the people playing hockey in the world, that statement is true...).

Some people might disagree with this statement a bit, but I'm a huge believer in it. 

I always think that the practice before a game is very indicative to how a team, or individual, is going to start the next day. 

When there's a lack of focus and work ethic in practice there's usually a corresponding slow start to the next game. 

And when I'm talking about a 'bad' practice, I'm not even referencing the execution. I'm referring directly to the attitude, focus, and work ethic of the group. 

We all can have bad days where things don't click, but when the things we can control as players don't show up to the rink, that's when I'm concerned as a coach. 

The same can be said for an individual working on a skill or even taking a lesson. The work ethic, attitude, and focus are the most important measurements of engagement for me. 

I know that if you're bringing those three qualities to the ice, it's going to be a successful day.

Even if the execution isn't perfect, the subconscious habits that you're building are what's really important.

So what do we do about it?

As coaches, I think it's important that we don't always over stress the execution of drills and systems in practice. Trust me, I know it can be frustrating at times when it seems like no one can make a pass or handle the puck, but don't over stress the execution. 

Pay attention to your teams engagement into the drills and practice. What kind of attitude did they bring to the rink? Is there a lot of communication, or is it quiet on the ice? 

Usually, when players have a good attitude, are upbeat and talking, it's going to be a good day. And usually, when you have those things going, the execution portion of practice comes along with it.

For players, it's important to keep things simple. Remind yourself daily to only worry about the things you can control. I know that sounds easy in theory and can be tougher when real life gets in the way, but if you can work on training your mindset to think that way, I guarantee you'll turn into a more consistent player. 

The other thing I talk about is perspective. Remember why you love the game and why you play it. It's amazing how something so simple, and something that really only takes a few minutes at most, can drastically change your attitude and perspective about the day. 

So remember, whether you're a player or a coach, if you can focus your attention in practice to the things you can control (like work ethic, attitude, and focus) the consistency that will be created will make a huge impact on your season.

Every day is an opportunity to get better and enjoy the greatest game on Earth. Make sure you truly cherish that opportunity. 

The Reality Of 'The End'

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The end. 

It seems almost funny to start a post with those words, but the end is always one of those inevitable things that we know is coming. 

Seasons start and it's almost like before we know it they come to an end. 

The same can be said with hockey careers. 

Now that I'm a coach I get to see it every year. I get to see how it effects different players realizing, or at least acknowledging, that their hockey career is over. 

For the most part, in my experience, you don't realize that it's actually over and instead just look at it is as another end of the season and a break. It's only after a few months go by that you start to realize that it's actually over... That's when the truth starts to click in.  

I haven't played competitive hockey since 2009 and the crazy thing is that I still miss it. 

I miss the atmosphere, I miss the teammates, the emotions, the competition, and as shocking as it may be I miss the grind. 

The fact that it's actually over is a hard thing to realize when you're caught right in the moment. And it's something that I feel like most players who truly love the game deal with. 

For me personally, I was devastated. It was my senior year of college and we were ramping up for the final month of the season. I knew in the back of my head that the end was on the horizon but I always felt like I had more time. 

Then before I knew it, I tore up my knee and just like that it was done.

Season over. 

Surgery.

6 months of rehab. 

Definitely not how I envisioned it ending, but none the less reality had struck and it was harsh. 

I was lost and I felt like one of the biggest parts of me was gone. I always thought of myself as a hockey player. And now I was being forced to deal with the fact that I wasn't a hockey player anymore, but rather I used to be a hockey player. Man that was a punch to the gut. 

But luckily for me, I was given a chance to stay involved with the game through coaching. 

I've always tried to make a point to those seniors that the ride goes by quick and they need to make the most of every situation and everyday that they get. 

Sure it sounds corny and cheesy to say those things but the reality is that it's true. 

It's hard to make someone realize that something they've spent so much time and energy in, is all the sudden going to be over. 

I've talked a lot about it throughout this blog... making the most of every opportunity and being able to look yourself in the mirror and be proud of the effort from the person looking back at you. 

The truth is, those are the things that will really matter...not some goal that you scored in an arbitrary game.

For all of us, the clock is ticking.

In hockey and in life.

It's crazy how fast everything moves along.

Don't waste a day and don't waste an opportunity because I can guarantee that there's nothing worse than having regret. 

So if you know, or feel, like the end of your career is coming, I challenge you to commit yourself even more. Grind harder than you ever have and make sure you leave it all out on the ice. Don't leave yourself with even the slightest bit of doubt...

Think about it this way....if you fast forwarded your life ten years and thought back to how your playing career ended, how would you want it to be remembered? Don't be that person who was wishing they did more, be that person who said they did all the could and loved every minute of it.

Enjoy the ride because it'll end up being one of the fastest trips you take.

And best of luck to all those players out there who are about the face the reality of 'the end'.

Focus On The Things You Can Control

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I've come to the realization that if players would focus on a few simple ideas, there level of success would increase exponentially.

What are these 'magical' ideas that I'm referencing?

They are simply the things that we can control... like effort, preparation, being a good teammate. Those sorts of things...

It's been something that I have been talking to my team about for the entire year, but especially in the last month.

It's easy to get sidetracked and consumed by things that we ultimately have no control over.

We have no control over how good or bad the team we are about to play is. We have no control over how the referees are going to call the game. We have no control over how hard the other team is going to work.

When seeing these sorts of things on paper it seems to make a lot more sense and there might be a few of you reading this now who are nodding your head in agreement. However, the part that is challenging is realizing and remembering these things when you are caught in the moment.

I think all players experience this from time to time.

I remember even in college feeling this way. We were having a tough season and I remember heading to a weekend series against the #1 ranked team in the country with a feeling of "I just hope we don't get embarrassed this weekend".

That mindset sucks.

It's an example of letting my mind wander and focusing on the things that I can't control instead of putting my energy into the things that I can.

The same thing can be said when it comes to referees. It's an easy excuse to make when things don't go the way you want. It's easy to blame someone else.

In nearly 30 years being involved in the game, I can't remember a game that I have been a part of where I feel like we won or lost a game solely because of a referees decision. Of course there are calls that I have disagreed with, but usually, those are all only small instances in the grand scheme of the whole game. And chances are that if we go back and do an honest self examination of the game we can find that it wasn't one call or one play that caused a loss, but rather, there were aspects of the game that we have full control over that we didn't execute on.

Like I said, it's easy to get caught up in the emotion of the situation and begin focusing on the wrong things.

I truly believe if we can develop a mindset where we only focus on the things WE can control, WE will be a lot more successful.

The number one thing I stress to my players, and I believe in myself, is being a great teammate.

It's not always easy, but it should be a priority.

Hockey is the ultimate team game and a completely united front will always go a lot farther than a group that isn't on the same page.

Put your self interest on the back burner and put the needs of the team first. I know that it's easier said than done all the time, but if you want to be successful then you need to make this change. It's the only real path to long term success in my opinion.

Pick guys up when they are down. Celebrate when your teammates succeed. Commit to bringing your best everyday in practices and games.

Those three simple things can make a word of difference for a team.

Naturally, I would say the second most important thing you need to focus on would be your work ethic, but really that should be listed as 1B. Being a great teammate can be 1A and your work ethic can be 1B.

I know I've talked a ton about how hard work is the foundation and at the end of the day your work ethic is what will carry you through everything.

So why is it only listed as 1B?

I have being a great teammate as 1A because if everyone has that same idea and philosophy, then when a day comes when you don't have your best your teammates will be right there to help carry you through. And vice versa. The group will always be stronger than the individual.

But back to your work ethic...

Remember my story from college about what I was thinking about when we were on our way to play the #1 ranked team in the country?

I should have been looking at the weekend as an opportunity and should have been putting my focus on my effort and doing my job for my team, instead of just thinking about how good they were.

That's not to say that I didn't play hard that weekend and lay it all on the line, that's just to say that instead of wasting energy on something I couldn't control, I should have been focusing all my energy on the things that I could control.

The true beauty of everything that I have talked about, and something I share almost daily with my team, is that none of the things I talked about take any sort of talent.

Everyone is capable of doing these things regardless of ability. It simply comes down to a commitment of wanting and focusing on doing the right things.

That commitment isn't always easy but I promise you it's worth it in the end.

This idea is another one of those life lessons that not only helps with hockey but can help with life away from the rink as well.

Focus on putting your energy into the things you can control and stop wasting time and energy on things that are out of your control.

And if you only take one thing from this entire post, take this:

It takes no talent to work hard.

6 Keys To Building A Pregame Routine That Works

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How do you prepare for games?

Do you have a routine?

Or do you just show up to the rink, throw your stuff on, and go out there and play?

It's always amazing to me when players can't figure out why they are inconsistent from game to game. 

When players aren't doing everything in their power to make sure they're prepared to play, they're often inconsistent. 

Preparation is a big key to success.

The first thing that needs to be understood is that everyone’s pregame routine, or preparation, will be different. What may work for you, may not work for your linemates and vis versa. The key is to discover a routine that works for you. You want to feel confident, poised, and ready to play your best from the time you hit the ice in warm ups to the time the final buzzer sounds.

6 Keys to Building a Pregame Routine that Works

  • Understand your why and what you want to achieve

Like any aspect of hockey, or life, if you don’t have an understanding of what you are trying to do, and why you want to do it, then you’re never going to achieve ultimate success. You need to have a clear path and vision to what you want, but also understand why you want those things. Any time you know what you are trying to achieve, it makes it easier to build a process around achieving that success.

  • Plenty of rest, proper nutrition, be on time (never rushed)

I group these three ideas together because I feel like for the most part they are self explanatory. If you want to be at your peak level of performance you need to be well rested. A physically exhausted athlete is not going to be performing at their best. The same idea holds true with nutrition. The food you eat is the fuel you need to perform. It sounds simple and seems like such a common sense principle, yet it is one of the most overlooked aspects in young hockey players. Eat foods that are light and that you know are going to make you feel good. Stay away from any foods that may leave you feeling sluggish or unsettled (examples include greasy or spicy foods). Finally, be on time! It’s amazing how something like being late to the rink can throw off your pregame routine and your focus. Before taking the ice, you want to be feeling calm and prepared. By simply being on time, you create a sense of comfort and readiness.

  • Visualization

You can’t expect to achieve success unless you can see it in your mind. This is something that I have learned through years of playing and coaching. Find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and focus on your thoughts. Visualize yourself playing the game. See yourself making tape to tape passes, winning 1 on 1 battles along the boards, blocking a shot, scoring a big goal, winning the game and celebrating with your teammates… all those little things that will make you and your team successful. See them in your mind and start training your mind to expect those plays. When you can see those plays in your mind, your confidence will begin to grow.

  • Create Mental Reminders

Mental reminders are your three key points that you want to focus on in order to keep your mind in tune with your surroundings, engaged in the game, and playing at your best. These ideas should be short, simple, and concise. Between periods or shifts, good or bad, you can remind yourself of these things in order to make sure that your mind stays focused. Know in your mind that if you can do those mental reminders each shift, you’re going to be playing well and helping your team be successful. Examples of mental reminders include: keep my feet moving, good stick on stick, finish my checks, strong in the grey zones, good first pass, call for the puck… the list can go on and on and can change from game to game depending on your role. These simple ideas are a great way to keep your mind focused and into the game.

  • Breathe

It seems so simple, yet is so powerful. Learn to breathe and calm your nerves or amp yourself up. Breathing is unique because we unconsciously do it in order to live, yet have the ability to control it if we want to. Feeling nervous before a game? Take a few deep breaths, slowing inhaling until your lungs are full, holding for a few seconds, and then slowing exhaling. This will calm your heart rate and in turn help calm your nerves. On the flip side, if you don’t feel into the game, you can use your breathing to help get your adrenaline pumping. Quickly breathing in and out will help your heart rate rise and get adrenaline pumping into your body. This can help your mind focus and get excited about playing the greatest game on earth.

  • Feel calm and confident

The most important aspect of a pregame routine is to leave you feeling confident. The whole point of creating a routine is let you have a series of predetermined activities that you know you will be successful at to help build that comfort level and confidence. Remember, success leads to confidence and confident hockey players are great hockey players. Every player is different and different things work for different players. Try a few things (taping your stick, warming up a certain way, etc…) to find what works best for you. Stick with your routine and give it a chance to work for you. Things can always be added or changed, but it ultimately boils down to whatever makes you feel comfortable, confident, and ready.

There’s no magic formula to what makes the perfect pregame routine. The only consistent idea is that having some sort of routine is important to success and being at your best. Some routines are simple, while some are a bit more complex. The key is to find what works for you and be consistent with it.

When times get tough, or you're looking for something new to give you an extra edge, examine your preparation. 

The way you prepare is another one of those things that is completely in your control as a player. It will not only help you play more consistent, but will also leave you with a feeling of confidence. 

Don't overlook the power, and importance, of giving yourself the best opportunity to be successful.

Let us know if the comments section what works for you.

Preparing For The Big Game

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Sweaty palms, fidgeting legs, heart pumping...

Man, I miss those feelings.

That's how I used to feel before a big game.

I never felt like it was out of nervousness, but more out of excitement. The excitement of being on the big stage with something important on the line.

Now, in a perfect world we could say that we get those feelings every game. That same rush of nerves and excitement, but the reality is, some games just carry more weight than others. That's just a fact. It doesn't matter how good you are, or what level you're playing at, some games will always feel bigger than others.

Even in the NHL, I guarantee that Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals feels a lot different than a Sunday afternoon game in Florida in the middle of January...

While the end may be close for some, or already happened, for others some of the biggest games of the season are about to take place.

I was talking with a former player that I coached the other day who is now a head coach (wow, that makes me feel old...). His team is about to play in the state semi-finals. He asked me for advice on playing in those big types of games. What they should do to prepare and be ready...

My message to him was simple: Seize the opportunity. Remember what got you there and play your game. Don't try to change and be someone that you're not. And enjoy the hell out of every minute.

 For coaches and players alike, I think this message holds true. I think way to often as coaches and players we get to a big game or a big moment and feel like we need to change what we're doing to get us over the top.

I've never looked at it that way.

I've always had the mindset of sticking to the things that have made you successful and driven you and your team to that point. That doesn't mean that you don't have to adapt and game plan for specific things that the opposing team does, but rather, that you stick to the core strengths of your team.

A better way to explain it might be that you game plan on how to defend a specific teams powerplay, but don't try and change your whole style and way of playing. If you're a team that is physical and plays heavy, play that way. Don't try to turn into a finesse team just because it's a bigger game on a bigger stage.

I think this message is important for both coaches and players. And honestly, like so many things, it can be related to real life too. Be confident in who you are and what you bring to the table. In the end, I guarantee you'll make it a hell of a lot farther being true to who you are then trying to be someone you're not.

I've talked a lot in this blog about making the most of opportunities. Playing in big games is just that... another opportunity. Don't let fear control you. Embrace the situation and embrace the moment and leave it all out there. I know that sounds cliche, but I think so many times we can hype big moments up in our head so much that we end up missing out on the experience and not performing how we would have hoped.

My advice for anyone about to go into a big game is to keep things in perspective, stick to the things that have made you successful, leave every ounce of yourself out there, and most importantly, enjoy the moment.

Speaking from personal experience, big games in huge moments are hard to come by. So every chance that you have at one, enjoy it and realize how fortunate you are to experience it.

Good luck to everyone about to play in one of those big games...