The first week of 2017 came to a close and the trade deadline is about six weeks away. As of now we see the Vezina race shaping up to be a three-horse standoff since Price has played his way out of the conversation for now. Braden Holtby, Officer Bobrovsky, and Devan Dubnyk are the three obvious options and the latter of the two having incredible bounce-back years.
I want to take a look at what Dubnyk, and to a lesser extent, Bobrovsky have done in the past few months and what it means to those of you who feel like you’re spinning your square wheels.
To move on in hockey and find success you obviously have to put yourself to WORK and be naturally gifted. Duh. But I can’t overstate the importance of timing. The timing of when you happen to land on a certain team, the timing of the recruiting cycle, the timing of catching fire when the right set of eyes are in the arena. If you don’t have luck and timing on your side the odds are stacked against you. This is why you have to do your best to put yourself in the right situations to allow for the pieces to fall into place.
There was absolutely no way Dubnyk was succeeding on that year’s version of the Edmonton Oilers. A good number of that defensive core is now out of the NHL and he is the only goaltender out of the six used that season that still have a job in the league. It was an absolute godsend that GM Craig MacTavish decided to say fuck the lemons and bail on Dubnyk before they buried him in their massive goalie graveyard.
While Sergei Bobrovsky has found success in the new decade, peaking while winning the Vezina in the lockout shortened 12-13 season, he struggled mightily last year in a season full of injuries in which the Blue Jackets beat the point totals of only four teams. Just as Dubnyk had to find his niche behind the right personnel, as did the Officer. Behind a new coach, new system, new 19 year old stud defenseman, and what I assume has to be a new culture, the 28 year old NHL wins leader didn’t need to move cities to find his rhythm, just had to be thrown back into the right situation.
Even though a change of scenery is good and even necessary in some instances, do not become a suitcase. That is a path with a real shitty ending every.single.time.**, exhibit A, me. The best advice I can give to make this happen is to be as adaptable and as low maintenance as possible. The faster you’re able to a adapt to a coach’s system, a billet family, or even a new school, the faster you’ll be able to start putting up the numbers and W’s that will move you forward.
What’s most necessary for you younger tendies is development. You need to either put yourself in a situation where YOU are the guy or manufacture that situation yourself. It doesn’t matter what level it’s at, crush it in a Canadian Jr. B league and you will be found, dominate in Midget AAA and the right people will know-especially when you’re 16-18. As long as you’re playing, as long as you look calm and comfortable and as long as you like you have potential and are coachable you will be found.
The majority of you will end up playing for bad teams, which is a fucking FANTASTIC opportunity to get better. Get the shots, learn to battle, build some character, then as you get older learn to steal games and win.
This is one man’s take on how you guys can grab a little insight from the way big D turned the ship around. Hopefully if you find yourselves in a similar situation you can too.
** Scott Darling is a supremely talented aberration and that kind of situation will not happen again in a long time-Jake Williams aka Jakey Pageviews