In prep for that, here is a great TSN piece on Predators coach Peter Laviolette, who of course got his NHL start with the Islanders, before they fired him in yet another case of this franchise shooting itself in the foot after finally reclaiming some hard-earned respectability.
Safe to say...Laviolette has had a fair bit of success since then. Lots of Games 7 too. There’s another big one tonight. The TSN piece talks to players about how he is that rare modern coach who mixes a bit of old-school fire in with the contemporary systems and structure talk.
“The way he motivates is unlike anything I’ve seen at any level, including youth hockey. I couldn’t explain how he does it; it’s the way he does it. He makes guys accountable. He knows how to push you in your own way.”
The old cliche debate here is “He really gets ‘em fired up!” vs. “If they can’t get themselves fired up for this, then why are they here...?” Practitioners of the former camp can get “stale” and tuned out by their players in the long run. Boy who cried wolf, and all that.
But any observer of human nature can tell there is a place for the motivational speech.
On that note, here are “seven keys” to Game 7 that aren’t really keys, but are interesting (some more than others) to think about in terms of players and coaches preparing for one of the most significant evenings in their careers.
I’m not rooting for Laviolette’s guys tonight. I’m partial to the Jets, who are really entertaining and I think a (barely) better team. But both teams are fantastic, with some great players I enjoy. As a neutral, there is no loser tonight for me, though I hope whoever advances goes on to take the Cup.
Game is at 8 p.m. EDT (NBC Sports, CBC), and you know Nashville will be rocking. Who’s your pick tonight?