I'm really enjoying some of the quotes that have come out of training camp so far. Players can either say nothing, say something but mean nothing, or say something and really mean something. The line between the latter two can be hard to distinguish, but I think some of the quotes that have been gathered by Greg Logan from the veterans about Scott Gordon are exactly what you want to be hearing at this point.
"I think hockey is pretty basic, but everyone has a different way of looking at it. I see his perspective, and I’m trying to learn some things here about the way he wants it done."
"You can still learn at our age, and you can still practice things to get better throughout the season."
"I think everybody is impressed and happy. There's no doubt who's in charge and how we're going to play. I think that's something we desperately needed. We needed more structure in our game, and we're getting it."
That certainly sounds like a group of veteran players that is open to change and buying into what the new coach is demanding. I would question whether overspeed requires too much physical and mental commitment over an 82-game season, but that didn't seem to be the case with Gordon's Providence teams.
I thought Islander Frontier had a good response to the outcry for an enforcer to be in the lineup at all times after the Bruins banged up Chris Campoli and Kurtis MacLean last night (and I'm also glad the quotes I zoned in on above weren't the exact same ones Dominik used in his previous post!). Dominik wrote:
Amusingly, this ignited calls on the Newsday comment forum (already!) that the Islanders must have a full-time enforcer. Because without one, the thinking goes, other teams will run roughshod over the Isles. Nice theory and all ... except that one of the candidates for Isles enforcer, Mitchel Fritz, was in the lineup!
While there is a deterrent value to dressing enforcers -- which is why GM Garth Snow has implied they will use them on a game-by-game basis this season -- the equation that Enforcer Present = No One Runs Your Players is a gross exaggeration, a falsehood. Some intimidation and policing built up over a season can be a deterrent, sure (even in today's NHL), but come on: Fritz's presence in the lineup obviously kept no one from taking their licks to earn a spot on the Bruins.
Just to expand on this idea a little bit, there are plenty of fearless players in the NHL that go out in search of the big hit regardless of who is on the other bench. And if doing so means that they are inviting reprisal, well, most of them are more than happy to take that on as well.