Monday, 11 November 2013

24 CH, 2013-14 season, Episode 3: Notes

1:00 min  Good brief overview of what the team needs to bring along on a road trip (over 2000 kg of gear, plus personal luggage), along with the staff who take care of it.  I sometimes wondered about that, if ever a player's skates or stick gets left behind, what do they do if that happens?  I wonder because it's often happened to me: "Where the heck is my jockstrap", or "Crap, I left my elbow pads on the furnace ducts!", as I rooted through my hockey bag once at the arena, minutes before the game.

As usual, being organized, having everything in standalone kits, with a place for everything and everything in its place in a bin, with a checklist you can go over when you're packing/leaving, is the way the staff deal with this issue.

We see players selecting their sticks for the West Coast trip, and that's another one I thought about: if you break all your sticks by the time you hit Vancouver, do you go to Cyclone Taylor's to stock up, or is there a factory rep or supplier guy you call and he overnights you more sticks?  Probably the latter, but I like to imagine Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang trying out sticks in the shop ("No, the Chara stick won't work for me, even if we cut it down..."), with kids and customers standing by, agog.

2:30  Peter Budaj seems like a good team guy.  Last episode he spoke to the camera about Alexei Emelin's punishing rehab schedule and workout habits, singing his praises.  Now he's pumping Lars Eller's tires, proclaiming his status as the NHL's 2nd Star of the Week.  When he was acquired, it was explained that he was a good team guy, a good backup goalie who'll know his role.  That was a little nebulous, but now we see it in action, in this series.  He seems to have a good rapport with Carey, always discussing situations that crop up or saves he had to make, and seems to be a popular teammate.

2:40  A few of the boys shirtless in the plane.  Apparently they have to wear a jacket and collared shirt when travelling, but can dress down to get comfortable while on the plane.  Kind of weird to show this, but I'm sure the ladies won't complain.

We saw this last season, when  the boys stole and hid Alex's and Brendan's shirts while they were asleep on the plane, and they had to parade around shirtless after landing in Florida.

3:00  P.K. and Carey playing video games.  It looks like they have the kickin' setup, a video console self-contained in a travel hard case.  Kids with money, I tell ya...

3:30  Segment showing René Bourque's hometown of Lac La Biche, Alberta.  We see the humble rink he used to play on, René says they used to play on the lake too, which is always fun, because there are no boards and you can skate away from danger and stickhandle until your checker gets tired and returns to the area you kind of set out for the game, and you skate lazily back and try to figure out how to get back in.

Anyway, this is one of the most appealing features of the 24CH series, when they show a player's family and his background.  Great stuff.  We kind of forget that René is a Native Canadian, his humble beginnings, how he was never drafted but has carved out a nice career for himself.  It's great to get to know him a little better, hopefully it humanizes him in most people's eyes, and will dull the urge for some to dismiss him as overpaid or nothing more than tradebait.

7:15  The famous Michel Therrien dressing down of P.K. Subban.  Both he and Josh Gorges get called in to the video room between the first and second periods and shown some sequences where they didn't shine.

Last season, we saw P.K. get similarly pulled into the video room by coaches Therrien and Daigneault, and be told, clearly, that in that situation captured on the screen, he was better off playing the puck rather than going for the big hit.  The instruction made sense to P.K. and he understood and agreed with the direction he was being given.

In this instance though, we see the cerebral P.K. being confused by contradictory or vague instructions, and ask a question for clarification.  He and I are not given that though, Michel Therrien interrupts and snaps at him and tells him to get his head in the game and get in gear, which is all fine and good, but doesn't address the specific issue he tried to address with P.K., and which the latter tried to elucidate.

So again, coaches nowadays have great tools like video to get their point across, but the best one is always going to be communication, clear, concise, and honest.  In this case, Michel Therrien doesn't hit it out of the park, but in the grand scheme, it isn't the great cause for concern that it has been turned into in the media since.  Coaches get impatient and bark, that's in their nature, and the incident appears to roll off P.K.'s back, he's seen worse before.  If a player faints when a coach growls, he won't last long.  Further evidence that it didn't bother him too much (or humiliate him, as has been contended by others) is that for the producers of the documentary to include this clip on the show, they had to get P.K.'s assent, which he granted.  No big deal then, and it's not the first tempest in a teapot for the Canadiens this season, nor will it be the last.

10:15  We've covered in the past how Michel Therrien isn't the best public speaker, in either official language, reminiscent in this of Jean Chrétien.  Both seem really rough when giving a speech, but seem to have a personal warmth and sense of humour that allows them to lead.  In this segment, we see Michel Therrien use a different method of getting his point across, other than just talking.  He breaks out the dry-erase board and gets all the recent scorers to come up to the front of the room and mark from where on the rink they potted their goal.  The point of the exercise is clear, that most goals are scored near the net and that players should act accordingly.

I'm not a booster of Michel Therrien, but this is an interesting teaching technique he uses.  If you keep repeating the same things over and over again, the message gets lost, people tune you out, even if you have a valid point.  By using a different way of getting his point across, he maximizes the effect.

People variously exhibit three learning styles: analytical, observational and experiential.  That is, people can learn by reading or being told something and thinking about it and internalizing it, or by watching someone else do something and replicating the gesture or behaviour, and by plain doing things, to practice them and perfect them.  Nobody learns strictly using one style, and no two individuals are the same.  Some will be more brainy and want to understand something before trying it, while others will chafe or go off into dreamland while being lectured to, anxious for the chin-wagging to stop and eager to get going and learn hands-on.  A good teacher or coach will know this, know that their lesson plan needs to cater to all three learning styles, and that different pupils will respond differently.

In this instance, instead of just parroting again to his charges that they need to "pay the price, get in the dirty areas, drive the net", he gets the players involved in the lesson and targets a different learning style.  So, good job by the coaching staff here.

10:45  Can't help but notice that the Canadiens have brought with them on the road a carpet with the blessed CH logo on it.  The one that no one is supposed to walk on.  What a great inconvenience for everyone.  Let's reduce the useful floor space in the already cramped visitors' dressing room by 24 square feet.  Goody.

I really don't get that sacred logo-which-must-not-be-tread-upon-yet-which-is-weaved-right-into-the-floor-covering thing.

12:15  Brendan Gallagher protests to the ref that he was hauled down.  Andrew Ference butts his mendacious nose into it and tells Brendan that he barely touched him.  Who are you going to believe?

13:15  How many Canadiens fans are there in the stands in Edmonton?  It's all red jerseys, even in the lower bowl.

14:00  Now we focus on Carey Price's hometown, Anahim Lake, just east of Bella Coola.

15:00  Apparently, Carey, in full goalie gear, won fastest skater during skills contests at junior team tryouts.  Surprising, but seeing him move around in his zone, not all that much, actually.

16:15  P.K. cranking up the volume on dressing room tunes.  He still seems despondent over the run-in with the coach earlier in the show.  Or, actually, he's just grooving to the music and enjoying his coffee, on closer inspection.  Looks like the accepted narrative doesn't quite agree with the evidence.

17:00  More dressing room dissension: Brandon Prust owns Alex Galchenyuk in a morning skate tussle, using his jersey to give him a classic Nilan.  These guys obviously can't stand each other.

21:00  Scenes inside the dressing room immediately after the win against the Canucks.  Everyone's happy.  Winning solves a lot of problems.

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