Observations From the Rink: So You Want to be A Trash Talker!

We have all done it. 

We have all heard the epic stories of various sporting legends trash talking their way to greatest. 

It’s part of the game, it’s part of the sport, but when does it cross the line? 

Some do it to gain an upper hand.

Some do it because they claim it fires them up. 

Some do it because it’s funny to them.

Some do it to send a message. 

Some do it because they are insecure with themselves and their own talents. 

Do young aspiring players these days understand the nuances of trash talking? 

How do they learn it? 

Who do they learn it from?

Do they know when trash talking is at it’s most effective or when to just shut up and play the game? 

I realize that I’m far removed from the war, but I’ve seen my fair share of battles when it comes to trashing talking within the game of hockey. 

I seldomly trashed talked anyone, because I wasn’t a star player and believed that wasn’t my place. 

What player or players should be granted a license to trash talk or have their license revoked? 

Now don’t get me wrong, I still trashed talked at times and I certainly didn’t take shit from anyone, but I went with the smile and laugh at approach during a discussion or a fracas, that always seemed to work the best and would ultimately infuriate the opposition. 

The opposition didn’t really know what to think, when you just smile and laugh at them. 

Another approach that was truly one of my favourites that really messed with the opponent’s minds was the ongoing conversation approach. 

I would strike up a conversation with my opposition and keep it going throughout the contest.  

They didn’t really know what to think. 

I always tried to keep them guessing. 

Trust me, I learned very quickly when to talk, who to talk to, who not to talk to and when to shut up. 

I knew exactly what I needed to do to get prepared, play on that edge and play at my best. 

Times have certainly changed and it would appear at every stoppage pleasantries are exchanged. 

What’s being said? 

Who’s talking and who should just shut up and skate away? 

From a scouting perspective, I’m strictly there to evaluate, project and report, but you can guarantee I’m paying attention to everything that goes on during the game. 

I try to observe every aspect of a player’s personality, character and behaviour on and off the ice, when I’m at the rink. 

Every attribute is important. 

When any player opens their mouth, I try to listen and observe. 

I’m looking for the reaction of the opposition, but I’m also observing how their own teammates react to their constant banter. 

You see now a day’s the respect factor between players is almost null and void. 

Every time a smart-ass trash talker who has NO business opening their mouth tries to put a player down or make fun of them, they simply put a target on themselves and their teammates, mostly their own best players. 

In the past it was all about the 1-1 battles or feuds. 

That was always the most intriguing aspects of trash talking incidents. 

You see highly skilled players would trash their counterparts, while the energy players would square off against their own. 

It was a level playing field. 

Every once and while that dynamic would change, and when it does, that’s when shit usually hit the fan. 

That’s when the order of the trash talking worlds would collide. 

Now a days, there are no boundaries. 

There’s no respect amongst trash talkers and their targets and that’s why we have players running their mouths for the entire 60 minutes and beyond. 

They run their mouths non-stop. 

There’s zero effectiveness, to that. 

Zero impact. 

It’s like they have verbal diarrhea. 

It’s uncontrollable and even their own teammates get sick and tired of hearing them go on endlessly not making any sense. 

The “F” word is their word of choice, due in large part to their limited vocabulary. 

It’s clear there’s no creativity to the trash-talking world anymore in the minor ranks. 

It’s just the same random shit over and over again. 

God forbid someone trash talk “the trash talker”, that’s when they go crying to the ref or skate back to the bench to hide or when it’s time to respond they don’t. 

Unfortunately you can still hear those players blabbering away to themselves or calling out their next target. 

Why can’t they just shut up? 

The subtle and quietly effective world of trash talking in hockey appears to be over. 

I’m sure there are some odd great ones still out there in the Midget and Junior ranks, but the real effective trash talker is truly saved for the pros. 

We only hear those beauties when the odd live mic is picked up at ice level. 

You want to start a great conversation between hockey people? 

Simply ask them this;

Who’s the best trash talker you ever played against or played with? 

They will be quick to answer and they will also tell you about the wannabe’s.

Why can’t players just keep their mouths shut and play the game? 

Quick Hits:

  1. The trash talker that trash talks when the game is out of reach, is just an loud mouth pre-Madonna that will probably get what’s coming to them. 
  2. It’s easy to determine the quiet skilled trash talker because they cause people to freak out like when Hans Gruber tells Karl his brother is dead in Die Hard. 
  3. The best trash talker’s won’t boast or brag about it, they just go about their business pissing people off and taking their opposition off their game, while scoring and setting up goals like it was going out of style. 

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