How Soon Is Now?

Ed. note - I will happily add on to McClure's wrap, and I apologize that prior commitments kept me from providing a full one which I should have when my comrades were indisposed.  I will also apologize as this is probably exactly what the front page of Wednesday's Indian will look like, but these sentiments need to get out now.  And I'll apologize for a third time because I'm on a Joy Division kick, and maybe I'm just generally bitter at the world.

So what's the excuse now, lads?  Injuries?  Hangover?  New teammates?  The schedule?  Because they're all total bullshit, and it's clear that you know that.

Before I get any further, this is not me hitting the panic button.  All you've done so far is humpy horse most of your margin of error for the season.  You're talented enough to get by that.  You won't get a March doldrums this year, but that's ok because you've decided to have that now.  But you're short on time, and out of excuses, and we want answers.

You miss Dave Bolland that much? Because he's done exactly fuck and all this season, so that can't be it. Schedule's too tough? This grind is at the beginning of the season when you've had months off before, and you still happen to be one of the youngest teams around. Your legs can't hurt that much. And when does a hockey season allow you to rest? You won't get more than five days at any point this season. So maybe you'd better deal with it.

Is it the turnover? Get the fuck over it. Because the guys who have replaced all your buddies seem to show up every night and give it everything they have. They aren't as talented as those departed, and maybe they can't put up the numbers, but who would accuse Viktor Stalberg, Jack Skille, Fernando Pisani, and Jake Dowell of not leaving it all out there? They seem to get it, so why don't you?

Still haven't gotten whom I'm addressing?  Let's start with leadership.  And let's start with you, Captain Marvel.  You're the one who seemingly bristled at Coach Q kicking the team off the ice for the morning skate on Saturday.  It was you who said that you were all adults and mature and could motivate yourselves.  And yet, you don't.  Not every night.  Sure, it's easy to be the captain of a juggernaut that comes out and rolls the opponent on paper and on ice every night.  But when a team seemingly can't get it up most nights, like this one, aren't you the one they're supposed to answer to?    And you've been visible for not even half the games?  You tired?  You're 22.  Where does it go from there?

And what of you, Alternate's? Patrick Sharp, you're a -10. You've been on the ice for 20 even-strength goals against. 20. That's more than one a game. Aren't you supposed to lead by example too? And yet five weeks in, you continually float through your own zone like Alice when she first arrived in Wonderland. How big of a bad plus/minus will it take before you're embarrassed enough to do something about it?

Duncan, seriously, what the fuck?  We don't know why you're overworked either, because from jump street you've been on the bad side of the tracks in the neighborhood of "suck".  When I try to sleep at night I see you lazily crank another shot of an opposing forward's shin pads.  Or standing still in your own zone.  Or trying some ridiculous pass that would get my Be A Pro benched in NHL 10.  You wear a letter.  Act like it.

But now it's to a team as a whole.  You are searching for passion and urgency? Do you know what your urgency is?  You wear the fucking crown.  Every night you walk into an arena it should be a showcase for you to present why.  Yet you skate like you think wearing it is enough.  The team your modeled after, Detroit, as much as we hate them and deride them they are the standard.  Even when they're not defending a title they swagger and strut into every game to demonstrate why they are the standard.  And you aren't even suspicious of what that's like right now.

Oh, are you worried about bending an elbow and going balls-deep after the game?  Yeah, we are too, but we show up and do our fucking job, and we aren't getting paid millions to do so.

There's still plenty of time.  You miss your buddies?  Grow the fuck up.  This is a business.  Didn't you just tell us you're adults, Johnny?  Your coach seems to get it.  He cracked the whip on you, and you pissed that away tonight.  You think your impervious.  Well, if Q can't get through to you, then it's obviously something within.  When do you plan on bringing that out?

Stanley.  Cup.  Champions.  That's not a label you just carry around to flash in front of Tiffany at Barleycorn so she'll show you what color underwear she's wearing.  It's also a duty.  A duty to show up every night and make it clear why you get to wear that title.  Make it clear that someone's going to have to take it from you with their skin under your fingernails.  Right now, you play like your entitled.  Like you can't be bothered with the plebians and drudgery.  Teams take what they want from you due to your nonchalance.  You're easy to play against.  Read that sentence again, because there is no larger indicting phrase in hockey than that one.  You hold what everyone wants more than oxygen.  You're supposed to defend it that desperately too.  Like you'd never want to let go.

There's still so much time.  These problems are so easily fixable, because they only require that you want to fix them.  It's not tactical.  It's not personnel.  It's simply what's within you.  But you've left yourself with a shorter and shorter time frame to bring it out.

When you say it's gonna happen now, well when exactly do you mean?