Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Musings of Mad Max Talbot (pt. 2)

A Coach's View

I had time for a lot of thinking during my absence and I worked hard on the mental aspect of my game. It's strange to say, but in taking a different view of the games, you can still continue to improve. I studied the various situations in which players can find themselves, and took notes. I observed what others were doing well, and not so well, and filed it all away.

I don't know if this made me a better player, but I know I didn't lose much by it.

This gives me the opportunity to reply right away to a question from a netizen that, in reading my last chronicle, was suprised to see that, even at our level, there are still things to be learned about hockey.

Personally, I can guarantee you that I'm learning something new every day. There's nothing complicated about it: every morning, I'm out on the rink with the best player in the world, who also happens to play the same position as I do. I keep my eyes open, I listen, and I try to pick things up.

I very much hope to continue to improve until the end of my career, and when I no longer have what it takes to play in the NHL, my greatest wish would be to pass on my knowledge to younger players. I hope that it doesn't happen tomorrow, but I would love to be a coach after my playing days. I wouldn't start right away at any level lower than junior hockey, because I think that I would make a pretty tough coach.

With the Gatineau Olympiques, I had as a role model Benoit Groulx, who I consider to be the best coach at the junior level. I'm not ashamed to admit that I would never have become the player I am today without him. There's not one day that goes by without my remembering a piece of advice he gave me.

It's also him that brought out the leader in me. Benoit always found a way to test how I would react in different situations. We had a great player/coach relationship. It was very clear that we were not 'best buddies', but after my last junior game, in the Memorial Cup tournament in Kelowna, our relationship has grown into a form of friendship.

When I was a player, I was his player, and he was tough on me. He demanded the maximum effort from me every day. Afterwards, he came to be like a big brother to me. He's always continued to give me his advice.

I still talk with him regularly, maybe once every two weeks, at least once a month. I'm keen to see him make it to the professional level. Because don't doubt it for a second: that man is a true coach and I'm certain that he will be even better when it comes to coaching men.

The Case Of Mark Recchi

I'd like to warn you as well, you won't read any juicy anecdotes here about the departure of Mark Recchi, who was put on waivers this week. In fact, I would rather not dwell on the subject.

His departure didn't surprise anyone, though you'd perhaps have expected a trade rather than he be released. For me, the organization's decision was surprising, since I think that this is a guy who is still able to play in the NHL. I'm not worried for him, he will be helping another team before the end of the season.

For me, Mark Recchi is a legend and I wish him the best of luck.

Maxime Talbot, Mark Recchi, and Ryan Malone celebrate a goal last season.

snoop: Earlier today The Recchin' Ball was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Thrashers:
Penguins coach Michel Therrien said this week that the Penguins' younger players deserved more ice time than Recchi, who will turn 40 in February. Recchi was scratched for six consecutive games before being waived.

"We believe we gave him an opportunity," Therrien said. "It didn't work out."
Recchi is a class act who contributed a lot to the Pens over the years. If it matters, TSCS wishes him well, too. Once again, thanks are going out to Friend of The Show Mike H. for translating Talbot's French blog for us. The Pens face the Vancouver Canucks tonight at 10:00pm Eastern. Stop back here for a recap just after the game. GO PENS!!!


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