Let me set the stage for you. Last Wednesday evening, The struggling Colorado Avalanche get ready to play the extremely hot Calgary Flames. The Avalanche look to dig themselves out of a hole that they have dug themselves out of. To make things more interesting the Avalanche haven’t even played all that bad, their offence has been firing on all cylinders with the highest scoring line in the league doing the majority of the work as always. But some bad turnovers and bounces that led to goals have left them down.
3-2 Flames heading into the 3rd and the Avalanche are all over them shot after shot and save after save for David Rittich. 9:14 into the 3rd period and Mark Giordano takes a point shot and directs it at all the traffic in front of the net, it hits Michael Frolik’s knee and bounces in behind Semyon Varlamov the Avalanche netminder. Nathan MacKinnon looks enraged as he skates back to the bench and begins to lose it. Multiple sports news outlets such as TSN and SportsNet report that MacKinnon came back to the bench in a rage and told the Jared Bednar, the Colorado Coach to and I quote “Do your F*****g job”. Fans have chimed in all over social media. There has been 3 different thoughts on this process. Let’s talk about them.
- Keep it in the Locker Room
- Don’t let your emotions get the best of you on the ice. If you have a problem with your coach, teammate or any other part of the organization, keep it off the ice and handle it off camera away from the media. This prevents the media from making a showcase of your actions and feeding more into the situation
- Finally someone shows some passion
- The anger on the ice directed towards the team in whatever way expresses how much passion you have for the game and how much you want your team to win. Therefore express your emotions whenever you feel necessary and at whatever time, who cares if the media sees it. They will just see your passion.
- Express your emotion through your game
- Take the anger and frustration and turn it into something on the ice. Go out and make something happen show you passion, dedication and how you care for the team and winning by going out and making every play you do count on the ice.
Now let me add something. There has been rumors that Bednar had said something to MacKinnon as he came back to the bench. But every angle of the video I watched was you can’t see Bednar until the very end of MacKinnon’s tirade. So there is not proof of Bednar saying anything.
I fall into a little of each of these 3 categories. I think all levels of sports should pay attention to this, because a lot of sports is reputation and how you handle yourself. So here are my thoughts.
If you have a problem with the coaching staff, a teammate or anything else for that matter. Save your comments for behind close doors, away from anyone who might hear and make a bigger deal out of it. Keep your reputation intact trust me it will pay dividends. If your known as a good teammate and you have the ability to express your frustration in a respectful discipline matter you’ll be more intriguing to teams. Especially in professional sports and later on in your career. I will add this, showing some raw emotion such as throwing a water bottle in frustration or slamming a door is not a bad thing but comments directed at teammates or coaching staff will not help, but only escalate the situation save those for private. Finally, Let your play do the talking. Never give a foot to teammates, or coaching to say you didn’t give your all.
Nathan MacKinnon showed emotion, and his play on the ice speaks itself. The problem is now he’ll forever have a little blackmark on his resume. Because MacKinnon let the words slide out. If Bednar gets fired MacKinnon will probably hear the words coach killer not because they’re true but because you always get reminded of the one dumb thing you did by the media.
Let me end by saying, Nathan MacKinnon is hands down one of the best players in the league and I know for sure emotions got the best of him. In an interview after the big blow up he apologized for his comments and said that he should have never talked to his coach that way. Even Jared Bednar stated that he loved the fire shown by MacKinnon that it shows he cares. So a mistake yes, but unfortunately in this NHL those blackmarks remain.
Is their a rift you ask? Well both are downplaying it if there is. I guess we will have to see what happened in the near future.