Back to the Drawing Board

When great teams lose three straight games people often take notice, they are all quick to point the finger and place blame.

Great teams aren’t supposed to lose three straight, but it happens all over the sports world.

The anatomy of a losing streak is sometimes incredibly complex or very simple to figure out.

The losing starts well before the losses on the ice appear. Poor practice habits, execution or practicing without resistance and getting away from the team’s identity can lead to losing, but winning games with those bad habits is scary.

The coaching staff have to recognize that the team are still winning games, but the poor habits need to be addressed, not ignored.

I’m not saying losing streaks can be prevented because there’s so many variables that go into that, but when teams are capable like extremely capable and deeper in every facet than their opponents then one has to question work ethic, habits, character, tendencies and ultimately playing as a group.

Poor tendencies creep into the individual and team’s overall play all of the time, it’s the coaching staff’s job to identify those tendencies or poor habits as soon as they appear.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s tons of variables that cause a loss or a prolonged losing streak with many completely out of the team’s control. Nevertheless, tendencies in certain players and team performance is on the coaches. Coaches need to hold players accountable.

You can blame the schedule, you can blame injuries, you can blame goaltending or lack of scoring, but for the most part everyone has to look in the mirror, readjust and rededicate their efforts to ensure the losing stops.

Obviously, team’s should never hit the panic button, but the losing streak needs to be rectified in practice. As coaches a change of lines and D pairings could shed light on several issues. Getting back to basics and finding common ground is a must.

Teams on a streak get irritable with one another, everything feels off, that’s why a change is sometimes needed. Keeping things status quo is an awful thing to do, it’s the complacent thing to do. Now there’s people out there saying they wouldn’t change a thing, let things work out on their own, well that proves absolutely nothing.

The player needs to recognize they are struggling, they need feedback, the team as a whole needs to come together and move the puck and trust each other again and to be brutally honest that’s hard for some organizations to overcome.

You see if a team loses one or two games every three or four weeks that’s not a big deal, but three in a row that’s problematic, that causes undue pressure and tension.

This is where the coaching staff has to have the pulse of the individuals and the team. This is where the coaches earn their pay, earn the respect of the players and regain and reestablish the developmental process and team success.

The toughest aspect to get things back on track is dealing with entitled players unwilling to play the team game or buy in to the coaching staff’s message.

When things are going well, nothing seems to bother them. When adversity arises, you see the true colours of a team and the coaching staff. You see that’s when the losing will continue.

Sure you might win some games based on talent, but you won’t win the games that matter most.

Usually the losing streak starts when you’re still winning. It’s all about bad habits, entitlement and individual selfish play.

The losing should stop, but it’s up to the players and coaches to turn things around, it’s back to the drawing board and hopefully entitlement doesn’t get in the way.

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