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SLBAM: Messi in MLS or Crosby in the KHL, they’d have the same impact

What’s up gang. I’m heading into the last week of my family vacation. How about you? There are advantages to being a field hockey coach sometimes, like being able to take it a bit easier in the summer, but above all, being able to enjoy family and good weather.

Our vacation wasn’t at all what we wanted, as I quickly mentioned a while ago. We’d been planning for a long time to spend a lot of time in Gaspésie, we’d planned everything and we’d booked at Cime Aventure.

Unfortunately, on the way to Gaspé, at Drummondville, we decided to turn back because the check engine in our car was lighting up every 10 seconds, our van was no longer able to move forward, and so on.

In short, we had to head back home and revise our vacation plans from A to Z. What’s more, it was impossible to get an appointment at the garage in the days that followed.

So we went on vacation, getting up in the morning and taking it one day at a time. Lots of walks and lots of SEPAQ, because we love nature. Anyway, it’s all coming to an end soon.

How are your vacations going?

My answer might be a little flat or even silly, but it’s quite simple. We’re talking about working on things you want to see in a match, in practice, but with decision-making, so players are able to recognize the situation and make the right decision.

But if we break that down further. I’m talking about rehearsals, lots of rehearsals. Too often, I notice drills and players will have gone through only 4 or 5 times… that’s not a lot and then we change drills and do something else.

Take, for example, puck recovery on a rim on the strip. It’s not something you’ve worked on for 5 minutes in a season that’s going to make your team any better. It’s a skill that even at the professional level, he continues to work on.

The other aspect that’s very important is to create a drill that’s a game situation as much as possible.

I’m a big believer in breaking something down to its simplest form and building around it. In the sense that the player needs to feel a “certain” zone of confidence just for the start of practice, and then we take it out of the comfort zone. A kind of “feel good”.

But often, we see drills that have no connection with a game situation, with no pressure, no information gathering and so on. Then, when adversity or a situation the player has never seen before arises, he’ll be unable to cope. That’s where it starts for me.

As long as Crosby, Malkin and Letang are there, there’s no way I’m betting against Pittsburgh. They bring a lot of experience and obviously, they’ll want to make up for last season, when they finished just 2 points out of a playoff spot.

With healthy players, a goalie who’s doing his job and the new GM’s next moves, I think we have to put them in the playoffs. Their experience will help them in the playoffs, I’m convinced. But yes, I can’t wait to see what impact age has on their season.

I wish I had the exact answer, but I think player agent Walsh explains a lot on the subject via Twitter.

First, NHL promotion is not comparable to NBA promotion. Revenues, including sponsorships and all, are vastly superior at the basketball level.

Secondly, I believe from a Google search that the average attendance per game is similar between the two leagues. We’re also talking about 32 teams versus 30. But the big difference is also the salary cap, which is almost double that of the NBA.

Unfortunately, field hockey is far behind in terms of salaries, and I wonder when we might see the NHL on a par with other major sports in North America.

Messi, well surrounded with PSG and with a good coach, I think he could have been very dominant. But we seem to see that there were several problems internally with the team and the unemployed pudding never rose there.

Messi, yes it’s a bit early to talk about it, but in MLS, he’s more than dominant. But he’s been dominant everywhere he’s played and even a few months ago at the FIFA World Cup.

Crosby in the KHL would be a monster without hesitation. Just look at the imported players and the impact they have. Normally, we’re talking about a player with NHL experience, but who was dominant in the AHL.

So to see a Crosby in the KHL, he’d be the league’s leading scorer and best player without hesitation. No matter with which team!

I’ve been asked a lot of questions since the announcement, and I’ve been very discreet about it. There was no particular reason, only that I’ve had a lot of questions since then on other subjects and also the vacations.

Anyway, to be honest, it’s not like I’ve got a big track record in women’s field hockey, I’ve only had one season at the moment and I’m still learning what women’s field hockey is all about.

On the other hand, I do know a lot about it, because several years ago I was offered a coaching position with the Montreal Canadians, which I eventually turned down to join the Magog Cantonniers.

So since then, I’ve made a lot of new acquaintances and I’ve also listened a lot to what’s going on.

All this to say that women’s field hockey wanted to move forward. Well, I think it was the only solution. There had been a number of small internal problems in recent years and even before that had prevented development.

But now, if you want the best league in the world, you have no choice but to bring together the best in the world.

I can understand that right now, it’s a big blow, because there are a lot of players who had a contract, who won’t have anything anymore and will have to make their place at training camp.

But that’s something we see every year at men’s level.

Now, this has just arrived at the women’s level. Having more teams could have been an immediate solution, but would it have been viable in the short term? I’m not sure.

Sometimes, being smaller and then building well and expanding is just as good.

What I see from the PWHPA is that they’ve bought a startup and now it’s up to them to surround themselves well so that the league becomes what they want it to become. It’s a shame for the girls who won’t have a place in the end.

But there are several options in Europe that could open up, and a lot of player agents can help them. Coaches too. From there, the global contact level becomes important, because we want as many girls as possible to be able to live field hockey.

Now, I’m really looking forward to seeing, when the training camps start, the level of competition. They should be more than intense.

I had heard, and I dare to believe it was only rumours, that some teams didn’t want training camps for reasons such as injuries, or because of guest players. I dare to believe, as mentioned above, that these were just rumours.

But thirsty youngsters should be able to make veterans sweat and, as in the men’s game, established players should have a bad training camp and fall down the pecking order.

In short, I can’t wait to see and I’m glad to see the league taking the lead. Now, in the short term, we need more teams and a second league (LAH style) to keep as many girls as possible at the professional level.


That’s it for this week’s questions. Field hockey on my side starts again very soon. I haven’t opened my July laptop for field hockey. I’m very behind even in my e-mails. But I’m starting to look forward to it.

It’s the first time in my life that I’ve put field hockey completely aside during the summer. As much as it’s done me a world of good, I’m starting to look forward to it. Talk to you next week @Mitch_Giguere.

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