Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Game 7s Galore! Managing emotions the key to winning a Game 7

How fortunate as hockey fans are we with last night's two Game 7 battles, and two more tonight? This frequency of Game 7s is rare. The intensity of the Game 7s last night were a treat. The ability to be aggressive, intense, and control emotions so you don't run around and get out of position or take penalties is a skill that is essential to win a Stanley Cup.

You will want to watch for the all important battle of emotions as the teams attempt to stay calm while being intense and aggressive. You may have heard Danny Briere and other players talk about the need to manage emotions in a Game 7. I wrote about this a few years ago for You can still find that article at

There are several very good articles on Game 7 on that if Game 7 interests you like it does me you will want to read.

Last night I thought Philly, Vancouver, and Chicago all brought the intensity and played to win. Buffalo seemed a little tight, awestruck, who knows. Although they were hard to figure throughout the series. Sometimes aggressive and other times playing back. When Philly brought it in the first period they didn't seem to have an answer. The turning point however was the goal by Braydon Coburn in the last minute of the first period that went off Mike Grier's glove. Without that goal the game may have settled and be more even.

The Flyers' mental approach to Game 7 was outstanding. Give credit to Peter Laviolette who has a knack for winning Game 7s (he won two with the Hurricanes to win the Cup) because he emphasizes having fun, playing loose and yet intense hockey. Also, give credit to Mike Richards, Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Danny Briere... - the leadership of the team. They have great belief in their team and trust that they can get it done in Game 7.

Probably because of their experience from last season (this is what the players were crediting after the game in the press conference), the Flyers have "resilient confidence" which allows them to play with composure and confidence in the biggest moments. What is resilient confidence? The confidence that is unshakeable despite being down 3-0 in Game 6 and despite having goaltending concerns. It is the ability to bounce back when things are not going your way. To dig deep and execute even when your season is on the line. The Flyers, just like in 2010, are showing their resilience in 2011. Flyers fans can thank Daniel Briere for his Game 6 talk with his team between periods. Briere has definitely been a leader for his team.

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