Be ready, Part 3

Continuing with the theme, here are Terry Murray’s (rather extensive) thoughts about “being prepared,” and related topics…

MURRAY: “It’s a concern. Not being ready, that’s a term that probably could be used throughout this homestand at different times. We’ve lost four of the six, the last San Jose game, the St. Louis game. What that means to me is that the attitude is not in place. Again, that’s something that each player is responsible for. In the pregame, we talked about the key to the game, for me, was, `Each one of you individual players getting yourself prepared to come out and compete.’ That’s the responsibility every pro athlete has, to push yourself to be ready to play the game at the highest level that you’re capable of playing at.

“Then, it goes to staying with the system and playing with structure and playing for your teammates. We weren’t there at the start. I shouldn’t say at the start. We were OK at the start. We take a penalty, they score on a power-play goal and then we get a 4-on-3 power play and we’re not executing. We had some time in the offensive zone and, wouldn’t you know, the puck gets bounced over Jones’ stick as Boyle is stepping on the ice. We didn’t handle that particular situation well, I thought, and now it’s 2-0 and now they’ve really started to come hard. The next shift, we spent probably 40, 45 seconds in our own D-zone, because of them turning it up and our own carelessness with the puck. We turned it over three or four times on that shift.

“So when Brownie talks about being prepared, I know that’s what it is. That’s what we spoke about here today in our meeting.”

Question: He said that the preparation needs to be improved individually and collectively. What can you do to help improve that collective preparation?

MURRAY: “When we talk about that as a group, in our team meetings, that’s about being on the same page with smart, hard decisions in the middle of the ice, to get your forecheck established in that first 10 minutes of the game. You want to get that working for you. That’s a team, last night, that when they lose possession of the puck, they’ve got four above you, every time. The decision that you make, as you come to the red line, has to be the same on every line. It’s a `north’ attitude, it’s `get it in,’ good puck placement, so that you can get contact on the defense and establish possession of the puck to make things happen.

“That’s, again, the inconsistency that we bring to our game. We go back over the games that we’ve played here at home, in the losses, and we’ve brought those losses on ourselves. When you play San Jose, to me, it’s a 10-handicap golfer playing against a 2-handicap golfer. The 2-handicap golfer, all he has to do is play the game. He’s waiting for the 10-handicapper to make that decision with the wedge instead of the 9-iron, and he leaves it short of the green. They’re just waiting for you to make that turnover, that mistake, and that’s what happened to us last night. We made that decision, and it was the wrong one.

“That’s a big part of this process, getting that mentality, the attitude, of 20 players on that same page. That’s a process. That takes a long time. That’s why teams go to the Stanley Cup Finals, and it might take them another couple years to get there again, because it’s a hard lesson to learn.”

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