“Scouts Don’t Do That”

I was told by several people in the hockey world when I first started posting my “Observations From the Rink” commentary and analysis on social media that I should stop immediately,
Sometimes you just have trust your instincts, I don’t write them to be negative, I write them because it’s what I’m observing about players and the game.

We all see the it differently. I was always fascinated with the world of scouting well before my introduction into the fraternity four years ago. It’s been an incredible journey of growth and knowledge with so many amazing mentors willing to give back and teach me the finer aspects of the business. Nevertheless, when it comes right down to it, we all see the game differently.  

We all rely on our instincts.  We all rely on our own experiences within the game. 

From our playing days, from our coaching days and beyond, we are always extremely confident with our assessments, evaluations, observations and projections. 

Nonetheless, as scouts we all know it’s not an exact art or science. We also realize how wrong our projections can be as well.  There are so many intangibles, so many variables that are out of our control.  

Projections aren’t perfect. Comparisons aren’t full proof, but we always rely on our instincts and we can never doubt those. Over the past several years as a writer, color analyst and scout I’ve gained amazing insight from combining all three areas in the search for broader knowledge in every role that I have within the game.  

I felt compelled to write about what I was seeing in the game from all three angles. In 2017-18, I wrote and filmed a series of brief assessments as an overview of what I was observing players and the game from the Midget AAA to the QMJHL ranks. 

Observations from the Rink” was one way of sharing my perspective on the game and players today.

If I have learned anything over the past few years in the hockey business, it’s that you have to trust your instincts. 

I don’t write my observations to be negative, I write them because I want people to understand where the game is trending from various angles. These are some of my observations, we may all see it differently, but we all the love the game and what to see it flourish. 

Here are a few of my “Observations from the Rink” over the years.

Observations from the Rink: If you haven’t seen a player, just come out and say you haven’t seen them, don’t try to bullshit your way through an analysis or a scouting report, second hand info or word of mouth assessments are always flawed” #JustBeHonest

Observations from the Rink: Just wondering how many times a coach pulled a player aside this year and told them how proud they were of their performance and effort, it really doesn’t matter what level, the smallest unexpected comments usually have the largest impact

Observations From the Rink: I often wonder how many players feel appreciated? I wonder how much feedback is being provided by their coaches in game and during practice? Feeling appreciated and valued is a game changer, it could change a season or the trajectory of a career

Observations From the Rink: Players at every level through minor hockey should have the opportunity to play specialty teams, Creating PP an PK specialists in minor hockey creates division and resentment, Giving every player a chance to play in any situation is true development

Observations From the Rink: I wonder how many coaches have pulled players aside this year to tell them how proud they are and that they are full of potential The smallest messages of appreciation can be a difference maker for draft eligible players feeling pressure to perform

Observations From the Rink: A less than stellar performance in one game doesn’t define you or your path, every player handles adversity differently, let your character, resiliency and work ethic guide you as a player and person

Observations From the Rink: It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see young players having success when they are given an opportunity to shine on a team with a foundation built on player development and coaches that trust the process and all of their players

Observations From the Rink: When young players excel in new roles, it doesn’t mean they’re playing over their heads it means they’re playing to their potential, the future is bright when you play to your identity in an atmosphere where growth and development is promoted

Observations from the Rink: All young players need to be given a role and put in a position to succeed. They need hope, they need to be lifted up, not put down or corrected constantly, when you coach the player and person, that’s when true growth and development happens

Observations From the Rink: Not enough is said when young players are faced with changing positions mid-season to help the team or stay in the lineup, it’s all about survival, the adversity reveals their skill, character and passion for the game, Your efforts are being noticed!

Observations From the Rink: It’s “Scouting Report” season. There are some amazing scouts and writers out there doing great things, but let’s chose our words wisely when describing or projecting young players, There’s a big difference between objective and negative analysis

Observations From the Rink: I can’t imagine teams practicing without pressure, resistance or working on small area battle drills every practice, winning puck battles and playing in traffic has always been an essential skill which becomes increasingly critical at each level

Observations From the Rink: Everyone wants to take credit for the growth and development of young players, only the player knows the people that have helped them the most along the way, we should never lose sight of the effort and commitment by the player, that’s what matters most

Observations From the Rink:  I often wonder how many players feel appreciated? 

I wonder how much feedback is being provided by their coaches in game and during practice? Feeling appreciated and valued is a game changer, it could change a season or the trajectory of a career

Observations From the Rink: Players at every level through minor hockey should have the opportunity to play speciality teams, Creating PP an PK specialists in minor hockey creates division and resentment, Giving every player a chance to play in any situation is true development

Observations From the Rink: I wonder how many coaches have pulled players aside this year to tell them how proud they are and that they are full of potential 

The smallest messages of appreciation can be a difference maker for draft eligible players feeling pressure to perform

Observations From the Rink: A less than stellar performance in one game doesn’t define you or your path, every player handles adversity differently, let your character, resiliency and work ethic guide you as a player and person

Observations From the Rink: Everyone talks about transitional D, but so many skate into trouble and turn pucks over

If you want to get noticed, take care of your own zone, have a great stick, make good decisions, take good routes to pucks, move the puck efficiently #LittleThings

Observations From the Rink: Sometimes heart & character beat skill, the skilled team eventually bounces back, but you can’t just flip the switch, you either have heart and character or you don’t, it all starts with culture, the intangibles always matter #CharacterMatters

Observations From the Rink: When a teams “best” players don’t pass the puck, selfishness will spread like wildfire, Just look at the power play and odd man rushes, usually that’s where the selfishness will appear first #PasstheDamnPuck

Observations from the Rink: If you haven’t seen a player, just come out and say you haven’t seen them, don’t try to bullshit your way through an analysis, a scouting report or a comparison, second hand info or word of mouth assessments are always flawed #JustBeHonest

Observations From the Rink: When young players excel in new roles, it doesn’t mean they’re playing over their heads it means they’re playing to their potential, the future is bright when you play to your identity in an atmosphere where growth and development is promoted

Observations from the Rink: All young players need to be given a role and put in a position to succeed. They need hope, they need to be lifted up, not put down or corrected constantly, when you coach the player and person, that’s when true growth and development happens

Observations From the Rink: Not enough is said when young players are faced with changing positions mid season to help the team or stay in the lineup, it’s all about survival, the adversity reveals their skill, character and passion for the game, Your efforts are being noticed!

Observations From the Rink: It’s “Scouting Report” season. There are some amazing scouts and writers out there doing great things, but let’s chose our words wisely when describing or projecting young players, There’s a big difference between objective and negative analysis

Observations From the Rink: Every team has a player that flies under the radar, plays the game the right way all of the time and never gets the credit they deserve, Only their teammates and coaches truly know how valuable they really are #HonestPlayer #UnsungHero

Observations From the Rink: Great to see some 2005 born players included for tonight’s  @40thMonctonian1 @QMJHL Top Prospects game, 

Every player has their own unique path, just another example of embracing the grind, your time will come!

Observations From the Rink: The flash and dash players usually get all the headlines and attention, but scouts and organizations that focus and drill down on the will and character of young Draft eligible prospects usually have the most success #CharacterMatters

Observations From the Rink: When players are put in the right situations and positions they will always meet or surpass expectations

Observations From the Rink: Always enjoy watching underagers play a level up, 

Young skilled players rely on their instincts, they don’t force it, they just play and stay within themselves, there’s a reason they can play up, they usually think the game on a different level

Observations From the Rink:  Board play is an underrated skill that many players don’t appreciate or practice nearly enough Handling the puck under pressure is a must at the next level. Wingers that make plays in the d zone often believe it goes unnoticed, trust me it doesn’t

Observations From the Rink: Poor body language is toxic, it spreads like wild fire if not addressed

Every young player wants to get noticed, just don’t let your body language be the main reason why!

Observations From the Rink: We think we know the players and their stories, but when a player overcomes adversity and reaches their full potential at the next level it’s truly amazing to see, especially when they are finally given the opportunity they deserved and worked for

Observations From the Rink: Players that constantly cheat might put a few points up here and there, but it’s no surprise to see their offensive chances “magically” increase when they play the right way, cheating isn’t offensive instinct, it’s just cheating

Observations From the Rink: Wouldn’t it be great to survey all young aspiring players to see if they actually had fun this season, I wonder what the results would say, It’s a game, it should be fun, in many cases the fun gets left behind, which is really sad

Observations from the Rink: 1st viewings can be misleading Every player is entitled to a bad game. It’s the other intangibles that the player brings to the game when they struggle that is the most intriguing

Observations From the Rink: Interesting how some players that get slotted in the right spots and get the opportunity to showcase their skill respond, Some coaches struggle with line combos, some change them far too often while others let them get too predictable and stagnant

Observations From the Rink: Two of smartest players I saw today had phenomenal instincts, skill and made players around them better, They were also the smallest players in the event, excited to see how they will continue to develop, if they get the chance

Observations From the Rink: Wondering how many players experienced quieter more peaceful rides home from the rink this year given the restrictions in place for practices and games. Hockey culture needs to change, parents, coaches and players all need to be part of that shift

Observations from the Rink: It’s early, but how many players feel valued and appreciated in their new surroundings and teams, hopefully coaches haven’t trapped players in certain roles, hopefully coaches will promote upward mobility and growth amongst every individual #Value

Observations From the Rink: These days everyone wants to be an offensive D-man, forget about the stats and just move the puck and defend, you will get noticed more for that then trying to be too flashy

Observations From the Rink: Obviously, the game of hockey wouldn’t be the same without amazing volunteers To all the volunteers involved in the game, we say thank you, your effort and impact doesn’t go unnoticed Thank you 🙏#VolunteerWeek

Observations From the Rink: One team was better on paper and by far had more talent than the other, both teams competed hard, but sometimes hard work prevails over talent, that’s why they call that a “character win”

Observations from the Rink: 1/2 Why can’t some people just leave young players and their families the hell a lone when it comes to making a decision where to play or where not to play. #TheirDecisionNotYours

Observations From The Rink: Young draft eligible or drafted players for that matter need to understand you can’t flip the switch, when you cheat, take short cuts and have bad habits creep into your game at U-18 you will be in for a rude awakening at the next level #TwoWayGame

Observations From the Rink: 

I understand the fundamental principle behind a tier system in minor hockey, everyone does, but starting that process at eight years of age or younger seems a bit far reaching

Observations From the Rink: Not enough is being said about undrafted free agents and AP’s that have earned the right to play in @QMJHL this season 

Each one of those stories are extremely unique and inspirational, the common denominator between them all is hard work #NeverGiveUp

Observations From the Rink: When you always have the puck on your stick, don’t move it when you should and run your mouth expect to get hit hard and often #PasstheDamnPuck

Observations From the Rink: Young aspiring players and organizations for that matter have to realize they can have all the skill and talent in the world, but they won’t win championships or have a tradition of winning without culture and character, 

#TheIntangibles

Observations From the Rink: Young players that play in every situation on teams that struggle develop more intangibles than their counterparts on high flying teams Adversity galvanizes some players will to compete which jumps off the page

Observations from the Rink: Extra ice time and an expanded role on a team should never be promised, it should always be earned. There’s no sense of entitlement when things are earned! #FDSHockey #InFocus

Observations from the Rink: You can learn a lot about a draft eligible player’s character and resolve when they don’t have their “A” game

What’s their body language like?  What aspects of their game are they bringing to help the team? 

A bad period or game shouldn’t define you

Observations From the Rink: Draft year pressure and high expectations clouds a lot of players and parents perspective, the competitive nature of the year should never divide a team or teammates, but in a lot cases it does which is really sad #InItTogether #DraftYearPressure

To Read More Full Length “Observations from the Rink” articles click below

Observations From the Rink

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