The Devils pointed to poor execution, careless play with the puck and Game 1 jitters. President and GM Lou Lamoriello spoke to the team after the Eastern Conference final about the distractions of the Cup.More on a nervous Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals:
The team still felt nerves, however.
"The reality is, you know, until the puck drops and the games start, this is a different situation you're dealing with," said DeBoer. "You have to handle it the best you can."
While acknowledging hindsight is 20-20, the Devils coach said there wasn't anything he would have done differently in the leadup to the game.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter said a lot of his players said they felt sluggish Wednesday.
"I thought we had some nervous players," he said. (from NHL.com)
To experience stress and anxiety often called nerves is not unusual. In fact, if you look at it in the right way it can help your mindset going in to a big game. It is all about how you interpret the physical and psychological symptoms of your body preparing for an important game. Sweating, butterflies, heart pumping, accelerated breathing, mind racing are all things that are attributable to stress. But, a little stress is not a bad thing. It helps us prepare to play our best. Martin Brodeur, who has often been considered one of the most mentally tough goaltenders in league history, describes thinking beneath his cool demeanor under pressure:
}“I love it! I like the fact that whether there is going to be ten shots or forty shots, I’m going to make a difference. Just one of those shots could mean a win or a loss for us, and that for me is a great pressure, knowing that I can make an impact at any moment of the game.” (Rush, May 2001)
The message then is to interpret, or view, your stress as a normal part of the process of preparing for a game. Most players will tell you once you start the game the nerves go away, especially after the first shift when you take or give a hit.Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, when asked about the pressure of being a goaltender
In the end it is normal to experience nerves before games. If you did not experience nerves then you might question whether you are ready to play. The key is to not allow butterflies in your stomach to create doubt. Like Brodeur interpret the pressure in a way that helps you feel confident and ready.