Belief In The Room
One of the biggest stories in the NHL this year has been the Colorado Avalanche.
From finishing last year with the worst record in the post lockout NHL era, to making the playoffs this year, their turnaround has been amazing.
The crazy thing is that, for the most part, they have a very similar roster this year compared to last.
So what changed?
For me, I think that the team chemistry and culture changed in the room. I think that is 100% the reason that they are now a playoff team.
Sure their big name players (MacKinnon, Rantanan, Barrie...) are having better years, but I'm a big believer that the reason that it's happening is because of the change in team chemistry.
After their clinching win in game 82 over St. Louis, I watched the post game interviews with their captain Gabe Landeskog and head coach Jared Bednar. They both echoed the same sentiments, this team believes in themselves.
I think this is such a powerful point to make. At the end of the day, it only matters what the people in the room think. As long as the players and coaches are on board and believing and working towards the same things then that's ultimately what's going to carry a team through and make them successful.
To often, we get consumed by worrying about what everyone else thinks. Whether that's rankings, other players, or even our own parents belief about the ability of your team.
The truth is that only those people, the players and the coaches, who are there grinding everyday really know what the potential of that group is.
The Avalanche are a perfect example of this. No one picked them to make the playoffs this year. No one gave them a chance...except the players, coaches, and front office staff.
This season they proved that when you can bring a group of people together who care and respect one another and who are willing to sacrifice and work for each other everyday, amazing things are possible.
I think this is one of the things that I love most about hockey. The team is always more powerful than any individual. Mix in some confidence and a real belief in one another and all the sudden that group can become dangerous.
If there is one thing that I have learned over the years (and continue to learn) it's that you can't put a price on team chemistry and belief in one another. Sure you need some talent in order to be successful, but I no longer think that talent is anywhere near the top of things that you need to have a successful team.
You need players who want to work and 'buy in'. You need players who respect their teammates. And you need players who are willing to go to battle for the guy sitting next to them day in and day out.
If you can find a group of 20 that will do all those things then the rest of your league, regardless of level, better watch out.