Was tooling around the radio the other day. To break the monotony of what’s been going on ---- you know, this stay-inside-all-the-time stuff --- I have taken to finding time every other day or so to get in my car and take a drive.
Not a long one. Just about 20 miles or so. Ten miles out, and then home. Just enough to see something different than the inside of my home or my backyard or whatever.
Anyhow, as the dial spun it ended up on NHL Network radio and the people involved in the show (forgive me, I didn’t get names) were chatting about the impending playoffs.
They were doing a wonderful job dissecting the nuances and tinges, the non-obvious storylines about what could happen when the hockey world divides in half and gathers in either Toronto or Edmonton.
Somehow, the conversation twisted to Sidney Crosby --- as many, many Stanley Cup Playoff conversations invariably end up doing.
And one person put it in a way I had never really heard before. He likened this situation to when the explorers headed off to the New World. I’m paraphrasing it a bunch here, but he explained how if you were standing on the docks and watching those boats set sail, there’d be an easy way to figure out who to bet on.
It might not be the most strapping and stout person.
It certainly wouldn’t be the one who talked the loudest game.
The smart money wouldn’t be on that explorer who ever had the most expensive boat or even most people in his crew.
If you had to bet on someone making it, where you would put your money would be the person who had shown the penchant during his life for being the most prepared. The one captain who had a knack for being the most organized, ready for just about everything that could be thrown at them and spent the most time mentally and physically preparing for any circumstance that could come their way.
The one who quietly and silently spent their life getting ready for all conditions could most be equipped to sail into something that was unknown to all.
Then the men on the radio quickly said to each other, “know who that is in our game, and maybe all of sports, right?”
Naturally, in unison, they said it was Sidney Crosby.
You know, I had never quite heard it put into that context until that moment. Made me a bit jealous --- wish I had thought of saying something like that.
All that said though, it was one hell of a point. No one knows what to expect with this tournament.
Will COVID decimate rosters?
Will nerves within the bubble frazzle among teammates because they are spending so much time together and can’t take time to decompress?
Will some people have their timing off because of the lack of game activity?
Will the accommodations be less-than-ideal and things like rest and nutrition take a hit?
These are all great questions. There are a bunch of variables that are unknown going into the bubble and probably even more that will waver and change hourly once teams make their way in there.
It will be tense, anxious and probably have a feeling of not just trying to beat your opponent, but really trying to stay a stride ahead of coronavirus.
Everyone will be going in blind. No one has ever seen --- or more to the point experienced --- anything like the NHL players are about to experience when they head into this condensed world.
It will be all new to each and every guy. People will react differently.
In situations like these --- just like those guys on the radio were talking about --- we will find out a whole lot about how people react under an unknown pressure.
In a situation like that, give me the person who traditionally is most prepared for the most variables. Give me the guy who will work an extra 15 minutes after each practice on a situation that literally might happen once a season. Give me the guy who doesn’t get surprised often. Give me the guy who has arranged his mind and readiness a certain way so as to never get stumped.
Yeah, give me Sidney Crosby.