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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Peaks and Valleys...

What a fascinating game this hockey thing is eh? A big win on Saturday for the Bulldogs in their home opener in front of over 1100 fans. Hard fought and intense throughout, I thought the Dogs looked great. That's a peak obviously. Then what went down on Sunday. A pretty deep valley, to say the least!

You'll win some, and you'll lose some. In my opinion the most important thing is not to get too high or too low either way. It's easy to win a game, or a couple of games, and all of a sudden it seems too easy and confidence gets too high. Get over confident, don't come ready to play, and that's a recipe for losing. All of a sudden if you drop a game, it can become two or three in a hurry. Then confidence erodes, self-doubt comes in and things get over analyzed and guys get down on themselves and each other. If that happens....well two or three can become nine or ten before you know it.

Confidence, like momentum, is a fascinating and fickle thing. Very hard to earn, very hard to keep and very easy to lose. It makes all the difference when it comes to a player and in the bigger picture, the team as a whole.

It's hard to make sense of a game like the one that played out Sunday as the Bulldogs lost 7-0 to Powell River. A great back and forth first period with both teams going hard and neither side in my opinion carrying more of the play than the other. Cue the second period. I'm not sure if it's that the Dogs were at one level and the Kings were at another, and that's why the first goal went in 30 seconds into the frame. Or - if it was just one unfortunate play that happened that then resulted in the Dogs sagging and the Kings taking off. Either way, immediately after that goal it was very evident that the Kings were flying and the Dogs were a couple gears behind. The Kings pushed and had a series of good chances, with Carson Schamerhorn coming up with a handful of good stops to keep his team in it. Down to the final 10 or so seconds of a power play however, the Kings scored again and went up 2-0 and the Dogs were in serious trouble with how they reacted to the situation.

Consistency. What a huge word that is when it comes to the ramifications on the outcome of a game. Take your foot off the gas, find yourself not ready to play at the level and pace that the opposition is playing at, and nothing good is going to happen. It's incredibly hard to always play hard, and always push the pace and be at your best. Without question, the rewards if you do are worth it though. At the same time without question the consequences if you don't are quite painful, as the Dogs found out Sunday. Here's hoping it's a lesson learned that won't have to be learned again.

There are few things I'm certain of, but one of them I have no doubt about is that being outworked is absolutely inexcusable and won't be tolerated by the great fans in this city, or the Coaching staff. It's been said many times before including here on the blog recently - the fans here understand that you can't win them all and they don't expect their team to. With that understanding however comes the demand that you bring your work boots and your lunch bucket, and if you do go down, you go down swinging and you maybe even throw a couple punches while you are flat on your back and down for the count!

A final thought - after looking at the great video on youtube today of the first goal on home ice on Saturday night, what really stood out for me was the urgency, effort, intensity and pace that everyone on the ice in a white jersey had. These guys were inspired and ready to play and flying. Flip the page to Sunday's game through the second and third period and the Dogs looked like the Grizzlies did in the video, and the Kings looked like the Dogs did the night before.

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