Tuesday, March 23, 2010

IBC Breakfast with Scott Gordon

He came as prepared as a physics professor to a lecture. It was only 7:30 am and he was ready. But this is the way Scott Gordon operates. He was confident and calm as he faced the group that had decided to join him for the breakfast buffet at Jericho Terrace in Mineola.

From the amount of food they put out, I thought there were going to be 100s of attendees. There were probably less than 100 and they sat quietly listening to Scott explain the strategic changes he has made on the ice, with visual aids, charts and video clips.

"As I was putting this together -- you don't realize how as subtle these changes are they can have a big impact." He explained that without the red line, he has had to try to balance offense and defense, "...so we're not killing ourselves to retrieve the puck and at the same time being able to be good defensively."

Once he started to draw those lines on the video screen explaining where the forwards and defense were supposed to be, I knew I was going to get lost. I was right. I began to realize he wasn't wearing a tie. Since when didn't he wear a tie? See? That's what I do when he starts talking over my head. At least this morning, I was too far away from him for him to watch my eyes glaze over.

Okay, actually -- I just don't want to give away any of his tactics. You should join the IBC and then you can learn all about how Scott Gordon attacks on the ice.

I will say that I did learn a lot, as everyone else in the room did. Even if at one point the video made the game look like a lot of buzzing bees, there is science to it.

This is the environment where Scott's real personality comes through. You can see how well he "thinks" the game, you can tell how much he cares about the team and the organization and you can also find out -- he can be very funny.

In the post presentation Q&A period, he did discuss the changes at the trade deadline. He spoke about the bad luck of removing Andy Sutton from the line-up while counting on Andy MacDonald who was lost the next day to injury. But Scott is encouraged the team has played with the same effort and enthusiasm even facing change and injry. He also feels that the experience the younger players are getting now will benefit them for the long haul.

With the contracts that will expire, Gordon said the Islanders will have to add players and he's excited about where they are going and the development of the younger players through the patience of GM Garth Snow. (Hmmm... exactly the thing that ex-GM Mike Milbury was always accused of NOT having.)

Coach Gordon had some pleasant things to say about our star rookie, John Tavares. Maybe one that surprised the audience. "He is very passionate. He's a hockey nerd."

What? Yes, he is. "His whole life has been about scoring. He's always been able to do it. Even his games that I watched him play in juniors. I was surprised there wasn't as much 'cheat' in his game." And while the first half of the season, JT was producing, when he fell into a multi-game slump, it effected him.

"He's nineteen-years-old, so he gets knocked down a lot." I've written that often.

Gordon told him not to worry about the points. But it was evident he wasn't going on the ice with a clear head. "He cares. He wants to be the best player he can be."

Well, this week he didn't have to worry about points as he was named the second star of the week for his seven points in three games.

John will get stronger over the summer and he will return to camp next season ready to be a big part of the New York Islanders.

While we all know the playoffs for this season are unlikely, Gordon did end by saying "I can almost guarantee next year will be exciting."
We look forward to it!

Rob Schremp at the team store up for tomorrow. Too late to start that one now.

1 comment:

Dominik said...

I'm just a liiiitle bit jealous. ;)

Great report!