Monday, February 11, 2008

Watching Practice

I live within walking distance of the Washington Capitals' practice rink. I was there in search of a romantic present for the Boyfriend and to give blood. (Hey, a Rod Langway bobblehead, Langway's autograph on the Boyfriend's Caps jersey and tickets to a game IS romantic....).

I happened to be there during the morning skate on Saturday. It's quite informative to see how these boys interact with each other during practice.

The main takeaway - these people really enjoy playing together. Watching Laich, Bradley and Pettinger harass "Old Man Olie" during practice. Seeing Olie get back at them with his stick (almost got one). Watching Backstrom and Ovechkin joke with each other between practice exercises.

Despite the horseplay, the players take practice VERY seriously. They practiced at full speed without the checks and it was all business during the exercises. But I think that they are all taking the time to cultivate personal relationships with each other both on and off the ice. That effort is beginning to pay dividends during games.

Bruce Boudreau's practices seem to be quite focused. For example, much of Saturday's practice was spent practicing the power play. I never realized how much choreography was involved. And the power play line worked on those plays repeatedly over 45 minutes. The focus paid off. Find something that needs work, work on it, apply it. It was a pleasure to watch.


Oh yeah - catch me in this spiffy fan video. I'm the one with the signatures all over my shirt.


Side Note: Last night, a former Cap was seriously injured during the Panthers / Sabers game. Thankfully, it looks like he'll be OK. Richard Zednik, my thoughts are with you, your family and the Panthers. Get well soon!


Karyn Romeis said...

Totally cool! Great reflections on the whole practicing thing, too. Of course, that all goes to pot when things change so fast that there isn't time to master something before it becomes obsolete. Sure a hockey game is an ever changing scenario, but it's always on ice and the rules are always the same. Corporate reality usually seems to have more in common with Calvinball! And if you understand that reference, you're obviously a Calvin & Hobbes reader, too!

Wendy said...

What's interesting is that I was really thinking more about the whole cultivation of relationships thing when I wrote that rather than the actual nuts and bolts of practice.

You definitely have a point about how rules seem to change at a whim in corporate environments....More so in badly managed corporate environments (at least, from what I've seen).