Photo by shannonyeh.photography
One of the hardest parts of being an NHL coach has to be keeping your team psyched. The NHL season is just so long. At a certain point, players are probably more tired than engaged. Halfway into a season, teams just don’t have the emotional energy to get pumped for every game.
So Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher is using psychology to get his team psyched.
Coming off of a huge shutout of the Capitals, Boucher is trying to get his team excited about playing the New Jersey Devils.
Now don’t forget that Tampa has more than twice as many points as the Devils (although, to be fair, Tampa has played two more games this season).
I think [coach] Jacques Lemaire has got them going…He’s got them believing in themselves more than they probably did before. You could just see it in the last game they played. They looked like the old New Jersey Devils. They’ve got a pretty good franchise and a lot of Cups, so we have to treat it like a playoff game.
Does Boucher get a different feed of Devils’ games than the rest of us? Does this professional NHL coach watch this season’s Devils and take away that this version is just as good as previous seasons’?
And more importantly, does Boucher think his words will convince his team the Devils are a serious threat? Because I’m pretty sure most of them have a sense of what kind of team the Devils are this year.
Boucher has pretty much admitted he’s trying to train the Lightning to take low-hanging opponents seriously:
Every day, it’s a brainwash of how we do things and how we’ve got to be so that whenever you play those teams, it’s not a matter of urgency anymore. It’s just a matter of your habits are so ingrained, it doesn’t matter who you play.
Boucher is smart to worry about Tampa coasting against easy-looking opponents, but if he’s going to brainwash his team, he’s got to brainwash his team. It’s not enough to just lie about the abilities of an opponent. If Boucher wants to brainwash his team, he needs to force them to watch game film with subliminal messages in it. He needs to start secretly hypnotizing players. He might need to inject them with crazy-colored liquids (everything I learned about brainwashing comes from ALIAS, so I’m not sure how accurate any of this is).
So I applaud Boucher’s wanting Tampa to take every regular season game seriously. But if he wants them to fear the New Jersey Devils, he really needs to develop some more effective brainwashing techniques. Because that’s a tough sell.