Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Hockey Edge NHL Playoff Blog Starts April 11

On April 11 the 2012 NHL Playoffs will start. There is nothing like the speed and intensity of the NHL playoffs. Two months of great hockey.

I will blog more regularly bringing back more game-focused analysis and the mentally tough player of the week. Prior to the playoffs and before each ensuing round I will anticipate the mental dynamics of each series and give readers some insight on what just might happen to their favorite team.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gaustad Fitting into the Preds Lineup; Now They Add Radulov

Nashville still adding to its roster three weeks prior to the playoffs. It is interesting to see how new players fit into an existing team. Nashville, who already has looked impressive, has added Paul Gaustad from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline and now Alexander Radulov has returned from the Kontinental Hockey League.

The Tennessean published a nice piece on Paul Gaustad attempting to fit into the Preds already close team culture. Fitting into a new team

Some pundits now believe the Preds are the favorites to come out of the West and play in the Finals. Let's see what Radulov looks like first. It has been four years since he played in the NHL. Know this; the Predators will be competitive in any series they play and will have a chance to win against anyone.

Personally I believe teams often play a game of risk and reward when adding players this late in the season. In Nashville's case Gaustad is a solid guy that will fit in, and Radulov was there before. Nonetheless the Preds are changing a lineup that has been working.

Monday, March 12, 2012

How to Make Certain Your Mental Training Program is Successful

As we watch high school hockey playoffs finish up, as well as clubs beginning to wind down their season, we see many instances where the brain is the biggest difference between winning and losing.

Even in the NHL you see how the mental game makes a huge difference as teams try to keep a playoff spot or get into position.

As a coach this may have you thinking about working with a sport psychology consultant. If so, good for you. Be mindful that it should be based on the benefit you think your team can derive from it based on their level of skill, age, and experience. However, what I have learned from years of working in sport psychology is that the mental skills and attributes that are taught can be beneficial to children or adults, to novices or experts, and to rookies and veterans. The key is how you approach it.

Dr. Sean McCann of the United States Olympic Committee's Sport Psychology Division has listed out 10 very important principles for successful mental training.

"USOC Sport Psychology's 'Top Ten' Guiding Principles for Mental Training"
By Sean McCann, USOC Sport Psychologist (Excerpt from Olympic Coach Magazine, Fall 2007)

Review these principles if you are thinking about bringing in sport psychology consultant. Your team will benefit from taking an appropriate approach to the mental game.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Buffalo Comeback Fueled by Ryan Miller

The Buffalo Sabres are making a huge effort to get into the playoff race. If they are able to get back into the playoffs this year it will come after being more than 10 points down after the all star break. That kind of turnaround does not happen often.

The Sabres' off season acquisitions fueled expectations of a Stanley Cup run. Instead the team was free-falling in the East standings and looking all but done. On January 29 the Sabres were in 14th place, ten points out of 8th, and 2-7-1 in their previous 10 games.