Observations From the Rink: So What If You Have a Bad Game?

We hear it all the time. Every shift, every period, and every game matters. In a way it definitely does especially when it comes to consistency, but at the end of the day, one bad outing doesn’t make or break a player. It’s their reaction to that adversity which reveals perhaps the biggest question mark of all their character and resolve.

One bad game doesn’t matter, the way you handle it sure does. A less than stellar performance in one game doesn’t define a players path.

You see every player handles adversity differently. Young players need to let their character, resiliency and work ethic guide them.

You can learn a lot about a draft eligible player’s character and resolve when they don’t have their “A” game. From a scouting perspective you can always tell when players grind it out or just go through the motions.

Obviously, every scout is looking for intangibles, but body language is perhaps the best indicator of a players character.

What’s their body language like?

Game in, game out. One bad performance is a one off, but a player’s body language is about as consistent as any routine or superstition.

Bad body language literally jumps off the page these days. As soon as I see a draft eligible player show horrible body language I make note of it and drop that player down or literally off my draft list.

Bad body language = Bad Attitude

“Oh that’s harsh, they are just young.”

“Oh that’s just that players way of showing they are competitive showing that they care.”

I don’t give a rats ass about all those aspects or arguments when it comes to defending poor body language.

Bad body language is bad attitude and nowadays you can’t go anywhere in the game with a bad attitude.

I’ve seen players literally give up on a play, a battle or a back check when they screw up or make a mistake. The energy they took to display their shitty body language and attitude for that matter could have propelled them back into the play. They never engage, they just show off their horrible body language. The sad reality of all of this is that it’s never corrected. It’s so naturally occurring that everyone has come to expect it.

I’ve learned more about highly touted draft prospects when they have a bad outing or haven’t had their “A” game then when they do.

Obviously, in my former role as NB Regional Scout for the QMJHL CSR, I was responsible for just ranking players. Body language was noted, but we were focused on simply ranking players.

When players struggle, poor body language is the easy way out. It’s the first aspect of a players character that surfaces especially if that player or players are on a losing team.

Losing can bring out the worst in people, but it’s here where the true competitors strive. Some of the best prospects have played on losing teams. They are relentless when it comes to doing anything and everything to help their team win.

Even if they have a bad outing or performance their attitude never changes or varies.

Draft eligible prospects that don’t have their “A” game should ask themselves the following:

What aspects of their game are they bringing to help the team?

What type of teammate or leader are they?

Have I worked hard enough in practice and is my maximum effort there in games?

We hear it all the time.

Every shift, every period, and every game matters.

A bad period or game should never define a player, however it continues to defines the type of person the player is.

Character and the intangibles a player possesses can propel them to any level in the game. It can also ground their ascension within it.

So what if you have a bad game?

It’s one game, but that one bad game or outing can reveal a lot about your character, attitude and how you handle and cope with adversity.

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