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Playoff Hockey’s 5 Key Contributors

03/18/2016, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

It’s March 18th and it’s time to give the hockey posts a rest. For like a week amirite?

Side note, today I learned about a term called semantic satiation.

From the blogger’s bible (wikipedia): 

Semantic satiation or semantic saturation is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who then perceives the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.

Hockey hockey hockey hockey hockey -

You get the picture. 

Even though we should probably cool it on the hockey talk for a little bit, it’s fun to celebrate the season that was and the playoff run with which it was capped off. The great thing about hockey in BC is that most teams get some sort of playoff experience. Although I could be wrong on that, I’ve coached here for four years and I still get confused. 

Anyways, here are five playoff contributors to be celebrated. 

1. The Goalie

No team is going anywhere in the post season without a goalie focused and ready to put it all on the line. The goaltender is the most important player on every playoff team, and most teams have two of them who can step in. Every playoff game increases in intensity from minute 1 through minute 60 and beyond. Players get desperate. They’ll fight through sticks, punches and crosschecks just to get a chance at the net. 

And chances they’ll get. 

2. The Clutch Goal Scorer

Every team has a player or two who’ve been depended upon to score goals throughout the regular season, but the problem is that usually the other team is aware of this, so they’ll probably adapt their game plan to compensate. However, depth rules in the playoffs. The slate is wiped clean once the regular season is done, and it’s always fascinating to see who can step up and perform when the lights shine brightest. 

3. The Defensive Defenseman

The good news is that performance doesn’t stop at scoring goals. Ask Alex Ovechkin about his playoff experiences thus far; you won’t go all the way without stable defenseman who know how to take care of their own end. The defensive defenseman doesn’t get a lot of glory, but it’s a crucial job. Here are the most important tools:

  • Playing their position in the defensive zone 
  • Keeping forecheckers away from the goalie
  • Breaking up cycles
  • Moving the puck quickly and efficiently out of the zone to start the offense

4. The Defensive Forward

Another unheralded position (except from the perspective of coaches and teammates) is that of the defensive forward. He or she might not score a lot, but they work their butts off ensuring the puck generally goes in the right direction while they’re on the ice. The defensive forward understands the flow of the game. Their shifts might start in the defensive zone but they more often than not finish in the offensive zone. The clutch goal scorer might get the glory, but glory ain’t possible without the work to get the puck to the net in the first place. 

5. The Coach

I know, pretty self-serving! But it’s true, and whether you’ve agreed with how your coach has operated the team during the playoffs or not, they’ve just gone through hell, the best kind of hell, but hell nonetheless, so give them a pat on the back. The coach has to make split-second decisions based on a mind-boggling array of possibilities and for the benefit of the team, individual players, the parents, the association, and of course his inbox. Hopefully he’s able to make the right decisions more often than not, but there’s another coach on the other bench making the same attempt. We can’t all be winners, right? No, there are no participation ribbons in playoff hockey.

And it’s over! Hopefully you had a fun season getting better, having fun and working hard. Oh, and hopefully your kids had a good time too. Next season is right around the corner - are you ready?

…Cuz I’m not. Need a nap first.

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