Posts Tagged ‘Stanley Cup’

Responding to an Embarrassing Loss: Learn from the San Jose Sharks

May 9, 2010

The San Jose Sharks are half way towards winning their first Stanley Cup title. They just disposed of their long-time rival, the Detroit Red Wings, 4 games to 1. I have to pat myself on the back just a bit. I predicted the Sharks would win the title in an earlier article entitled, “Responding to an Own Goal: Learn from Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks“. After scoring the strangest and flukiest own goals I have ever seen to lose a game in OT, the Sharks won the next three games to eliminate the Colorado Avalanche from the playoffs.

The Sharks’ latest feat was how they responded after losing the fourth game of the Red Wing series by the lopsided score of 7 – 1. They did exactly what all good teams should do. They forgot about that game and moved on.

If you are a player playing on a good time, you will undoubtedly play in a game in which the opposition is on fire and your team simply is not playing well. It will happen and the final score will be embarrassing. So what? You and your teammates should simply move on. You must know and believe that you are better than that final score.

Naturally, this is easier said than done. In my younger days, I hated losing, especially when I felt we were the better team. But losing a game by the score of 2 – 1 was always harder to deal with than getting blown out. In close losses, I would often dwell on one or two plays that I had I performed my job better, I felt the outcome of the game would have been different (i.e., a missed penalty or missed field goal). I still remember those close losses to this day.

On the other hand, when my team was blown out, those losses were much easier to deal with. You realize that no matter what you or your teammates did in that game, nothing was going to help change the outcome. Therefore, there was no point dwelling on the game. All you can really do is come out next time and prove that the last game was a fluke.

Sharks, keep up the good work. Along with millions of Sharks’ fans, I’m looking forward to that Stanley Cup parade in June. However, make sure to win the Cup before the start of the World Cup. Thanks.

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Responding to an Own Goal: Learn from Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks

April 21, 2010

I’ve been a San Jose Sharks hockey fan ever since the franchise was first established in 1991. For the last several years I have had to endure early-round exits from the Stanley Cup playoffs when the Sharks were often the better team. It looked like the same fate would befall the Sharks this season as well when in Game 3 against the Colorado Avalanche, Dan Boyle inadvertently shot the puck into his own net in OT after having outshot Colorado 51 – 16 in three scoreless regulation periods. Have a look for yourself.

Granted replays showed that a Colorado player did actually tip the puck when it was played by Boyle. But still, how were the Sharks, and in particular Boyle, going to respond after such a devastating goal and loss?

Before answering that question, own goals are a fact of life in soccer as well. I have been tracking goal scoring at the professional level for over three months and estimate that about 2% of all goals are own goals.

If you are a soccer player, I can guarantee you that you will score at least one own goal, and if you are a defender, many own goals in your career. If it has not happened yet, it will. When it happens, these are some ways I recommend players should react and not react:

  • Laugh about it. You know your teammates are going to tease you about it after the game anyway. You might as well get it started.
  • Forget about it. An own goal is simply a mistake. In any game, 100s of mistakes are made and rarely does anyone dwell on them during a game. Move on.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. What’s done is done. The milk has already been spilled. Pick yourself up, laugh about it, and then forget about it.
  • Don’t become a player you are not. The tendency after an own goal is to try too hard to make up for the miscue. Don’t! Usually when you try too hard, you will make more mistakes. Just continue to play your game.

Back to the Sharks. It turns out that Boyle and the Sharks responded very well to the own goal. Boyle scored 1:12 into the first period and the Sharks won 2-1 in OT and evened the series 2-2.

My prediction is that the Sharks go on to win the series, win the Western Conference, and win their first Stanley Cup. If they do, they will have Boyle’s own goal to thank.