DAY TWO, MOSCOW - Dec. 27,2000
Today was an "off day" for us. I use the quotation marks because at a tournament like this you never really have an off day. There is always a practice, meetings or other team things and, of course, the next game to prepare for.
Today we were working in practice on defending against that long breakout pass from the defence up to a forward that Finland and Russia really seem to like to use. Over here, unlike the OHL where I normally coach, there is no centre-ice red line in terms of the two-line pass. It makes for a bit of a different game.
Finland and Russia back-to-back will be a great test for our team; I'm looking forward to it. As much as I can, I'm trying to keep to my regular routine while I'm here in Moscow. That can be a little difficult sometimes. For example, I like to lift weights or hit the treadmill. But that's not always possible because some of our games are in the afternoon and not at night.
On a typical game day I like to send my assistant coaches off to the rink with the players so that I can stay in my room and prepare my game card. That's a little card that I have in my pocket while I'm behind the bench. On the card I'll have my line combinations, match ups and any other things that I might want to refer to during the game. I like to post those sheets in the room for the players to look at when they come in. I also take time to go over notes I have on players on the other team. You might take notice of a guy who is on a streak right now or if maybe a particular line combination has been working for the other team or that their power play or penalty killing is good or bad. Things like that. Lots of information, I know. But above everything, a coach has to be is prepared. A coach also has to be alert; so I like to grab a nap in the afternoon if I can so that I'm well rested.
Like I said earlier, it's a little different here because our games aren't always at night. Guys all have different routines once they get to the rink. I like to get there at least three hours before puck drop. There's always stuff to do. I'll post a few notes for the players in the dressing room and just kind of look around and collect my thoughts for the game. I never talk to the players before the warm-up.
I think it's important that players have time for themselves as a team without the coach around. It's good to let them get their equipment on, tape sticks, stretch, etc. and just prepare however they like to without having to listen to any speeches from me. I also never watch the warm-up. I let the assistant coaches go out to keep an eye on things. It's just a little superstition that I have.
After the warm-up I'll say anything I have to say to the team. Then, it's out through the door and into the line of fire. If you're a coach, that's the moment you've been waiting for all day.
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