A counterpoint to this bullshit article http://hockeenight.com/2013/05/06/maybe-the-playoffs-arent-that-fun-after-all-hunger-strike.aspx
Ask any hockey player this question after a playoff loss: “Did you personally do everything that you possibly could to win that game?”
What do you think the answer would be. It is my belief that they would say no at least 90% of the time. I believe the response would be the same even after a win.
Take the question further - “Did you fight for every puck, did you push as hard as you could every shift, did you sprint to every backcheck, did you always fight for space in front of the net regardless of the physical abuse, did you block every shot possible regardless of the risk of injury, did you take every opportunity to play the puck even though it would mean getting your head smashed into the boards, did you maintain your discipline despite Corey Perry constantly running his bug catching mouth? Every single time?
The answer now? “No.” 100% of hockey players would answer no.
Did the players on the other team do more of those things than you? “Yes.”
Why did they do more of those things? “They wanted it more.”
You would have to get them away from the bright lights of the post-game scrum and into an environment where they could speak freely without backlash, but these are the honest answers and the reality of a sport that is played at full throttle the whole time.
This is why confidence is so important in hockey. It’s one thing to want it more, but it’s another to have the confidence in yourself that if you put out the extra effort, it will amount to something. Confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The better you feel about your game, the harder you are motivated to work, which gets better results, and makes you more confident.
In some ways, It’s a good thing players aren’t able to go 100% all the time. If they were able to, there wouldn’t be any hockey players older than 30. Their bodies would give out on them. Used up beating the shit out of Ryan Kesler.
All of these reasons are why the favorites to win any given playoff series don’t always win. With the team parity in the NHL today, effort and wanting it more can trump skill and talent any day of the week. Call it the democratization of hockey. Some would bemoan this change. A game where the likes of Wayne Gretzky would be far less relevant. Still a huge star, but not able to single-handedly win a game. Some are shocked that the Islanders are giving the Penguins such a hard time. They have Crosby and Malkin!!! They’re the better team!!! They dominated all season!!! Same story for Chicago and Minnesota. Kane and Hossa!!!
Personally I think this is a good thing. It allows players who are willing to put in the work to succeed over players that have more natural talent. I would take Joe Pavelski over Alex Semin anyday (Semin...ewe).
What wanting it more boils down to is not wishing for a Christmas present like Dan Ellis on Christmas morning, but doing all the little things that are required to be successful. Eating the best possible diet, training the smartest, putting in the hours in the off-season to perfect that deke, and most importantly, putting in maximum effort in games. Smart coaches say this all the time. And dumb coaches, well... http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/blog/eye-on-hockey/22020848/randy-carlyle-has-some-theories-on-what-causes-concussions
So for all you people who think Chicago is entitled to go to the finals because they were the best in the regular season, they’re not going to get there if the other teams want it more.
Sharks win tonight because they want it more.