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-   -   Drafting Smart Players-A New Necessity? (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=495023)

Quiet Robert 03-22-2008 12:27 PM

Drafting Smart Players-A New Necessity?
 
Rod Francis on the Team990 yesterday brought up what I thought could be an interesting point for discussion. He said, and I'm paraphrasing so I could be a little off, that as the game gets more complicated, teams might put an greater emphasis on a player's off-ice intelligence. So drafting well-educated guys would become increasingly important.

I think we're already seeing an increase in NCAA players being drafted early, and less reticence about Candians going the NCAA route but that has more to do with on-ice potential and the caliber of players being developed there than the educational benefits. Obviously it's seen as a bonus that the player is getting an education, but I don't think it's seen as the factor that wins a GM over when draft day comes. So I guess the question is will it become the decisive factor?

Should teams even put an emphasis on off-ice intelligence? As long as the guy can play hockey, should we care if he reads Tolstoi or knows about quantum physics?

I don't think that going to college means you're a smarter person, but it does give you a set of tools and life skills that you can't easily get anywhere else. So I guess the question is, will this skill set become necessary for hockey players in the future?

Will the stereotype of hockey players as toothless farmboys be replaced by one of toothless college kids?

Tricolore#20 03-22-2008 12:31 PM

I certainly don't think it's a "new necessity". What aspect of the game exactly is getting more complicated? I would argue the financial aspect, but the majority of players hire agents to deal with that. Aside from that, the vast majority of the player's commitment is on the ice, and "off-ice" intelligence has little to do with performance. Some may suggest that dealing with the media is also an area in which more intelligent players would thrive at. However, with the expensive PR machines that team's have nowadays, all players are trained adequately to deal with that.

Ohashi_Jouzu 03-22-2008 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tricolore#20 (Post 13214798)
I certainly don't think it's a "new necessity". What aspect of the game exactly is getting more complicated? I would argue the financial aspect, but the majority of players hire agents to deal with that. Aside from that, the vast majority of the player's commitment is on the ice, and "off-ice" intelligence has little to do with performance. Some may suggest that dealing with the media is also an area in which more intelligent players would thrive at. However, with the expensive PR machines that team's have nowadays, all players are trained adequately to deal with that.

But you have heard sportscasters and pundits refer to some athletes as "cerebral" players right? Obviously not more important than skill, but in a tie-breaker between similar players, I wonder how much intelligence positively contributes to "coachability" and ability to develop/adapt.

Lone Rogue 03-22-2008 12:48 PM

I think the reason that this could be occurring is because a hockey player with an education has a fall back plan, and will look at more elements to the game than just the paycheque. If a player can suffer an injury but move into another line of work, he is less of a liability than a player who does not have the education to do anything other than be a hockey player. He'll hide nagging injuries if he feels he'll lose his spot.

I'd also just like to say, as a University student, that we should be saying "Educated" and not "Smart". Not trying to be politically correct, but I know a lot of dumb ****ers who just study a lot. Just because they have an education, doesn't make them smart.

The n00b King 03-22-2008 12:52 PM

Having an education allows you to make better life decisions off the ice. Im not saying that it's always the case, but having someone who's "smarter" in your locker room has much greater benefits then having a bunch of dumb players *cough* Chelios *cough*. Education for a hockey player has never played a bigger role. Especially as was mentioned above, it gives them a fall back plan.

Ohashi_Jouzu 03-22-2008 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lone Rogue (Post 13215020)
I'd also just like to say, as a University student, that we should be saying "Educated" and not "Smart". Not trying to be politically correct, but I know a lot of dumb ****ers who just study a lot. Just because they have an education, doesn't make them smart.

My question is whether intelligence (i.e. "smarts") outweighs education (i.e. work ethic, or other studious qualities) or vice-versa. Therefore, "smart"/intelligent may, in fact, be the desired quality... rather than simply "educated." Admittedly, a large hint towards either is the ability to complete a post-secondary degree.

MaKi 03-22-2008 12:59 PM

I wouldn't consider school (book) smarts as becoming important in player selection, but definately hockey smarts.
But it's nothing new.
When I say hockey smarts I mean the ability to adapt and perform.
For example Mark Streit who is able to adapt to playing on the PP, even strength as a forward or as a defenceman.
Another example would be some New Jersey players, John Madden comes to mind, who were able to learn and adapt to their teams system, and excel.
Madden if I'm not mistaken was more of a scorer in his years before the NHL.
But he was molded into a major shutdown player which is what his team needed him to be.

Ohashi_Jouzu 03-22-2008 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MacKmtl (Post 13215151)
I wouldn't consider school (book) smarts as becoming important in player selection, but definately hockey smarts.
But it's nothing new.
When I say hockey smarts I mean the ability to adapt and perform.
For example Mark Streit who is able to adapt to playing on the PP, even strength as a forward or as a defenceman.
Another example would be some New Jersey players, John Madden comes to mind, who were able to learn and adapt to their teams system, and excel.
Madden if I'm not mistaken was more of a scorer in his years before the NHL.
But he was molded into a major shutdown player which is what his team needed him to be.

Who's to say that all isn't related to, as you put it, "book smarts?" Perhaps it's their relative level of intelligence that allows them to adapt to those game situations. It'd be interesting to have I.Q test results for a large selection of players and compare.

Nobak 03-22-2008 01:05 PM

I would expect the benefit for a more intelligent player is the ability to assess situations quicker and make better decisions - in effect, better problem solving skills. Nothing much to do with education.

Quiet Robert 03-22-2008 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu (Post 13215119)
My question is whether intelligence (i.e. "smarts") outweighs education (i.e. work ethic, or other studious qualities) or vice-versa. Therefore, "smart"/intelligent may, in fact, be the desired quality... rather than simply "educated." Admittedly, a large hint towards either is the ability to complete a post-secondary degree.

I think we would all agree that smart/intelligent is a desirable quality in any hockey player but I think the question rather becomes, does a formal post-secondary education better equip players for the NHL? In other words, as "smart" as a player may be, would the specific benefits of a college degree be more valuable than 2-3 years of grooming in junior hockey.

For me, intelligence in hockey terms comes from everything that is generally lumped into "hockey IQ." All the cerebral aspects of the game that don't fall into physical talents. Are the mental aspects of the game that can be taught (positional play without the puck etc...) learned more easily by a college graduate? Some things like defensive awareness or anticipation just come naturally to an athlete, but you can teach a player how to kill a penalty, play in a system etc...I wonder if college gives players the tools to learn these things quickly and implement them without too much trouble. Obviously this would be nearly impossible to measure, but I think what Francis was getting at, and what's interesting, is that maybe teams will start to see the lessons from the classroom as beneficial to the player on the ice. Maybe college teaches kids how to improvise, how to think outside the box, so that even someone who isn't that "smart" will be given tools that will help him as a hockey player.

Ohashi_Jouzu 03-22-2008 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quiet Robert (Post 13215418)
I think we would all agree that smart/intelligent is a desirable quality in any hockey player but I think the question rather becomes, does a formal post-secondary education better equip players for the NHL? In other words, as "smart" as a player may be, would the specific benefits of a college degree be more valuable than 2-3 years of grooming in junior hockey.

For me, intelligence in hockey terms comes from everything that is generally lumped into "hockey IQ." All the cerebral aspects of the game that don't fall into physical talents. Are the mental aspects of the game that can be taught (positional play without the puck etc...) learned more easily by a college graduate? Some things like defensive awareness or anticipation just come naturally to an athlete, but you can teach a player how to kill a penalty, play in a system etc...I wonder if college gives players the tools to learn these things quickly and implement them without too much trouble. Obviously this would be nearly impossible to measure, but I think what Francis was getting at, and what's interesting, is that maybe teams will start to see the lessons from the classroom as beneficial to the player on the ice. Maybe college teaches kids how to improvise, how to think outside the box, so that even someone who isn't that "smart" will be given tools that will help him as a hockey player.

Thar's exactly the discussion I was hinting at. Unfortunately I have to go to bed and get a few hours' sleep before game time!

habs1988 03-22-2008 01:31 PM

Well, I tend to believe that smart player (articulated, wise...) in the NHL are, in majority, players that went to school. Not University, but they were good at school.

Look at Komi, Higgins and O'Byrne...they all went to University and when they talk, you see that they are smart. Just my opinion.

Lucius 03-22-2008 01:33 PM

NCAA doesn't mean smart.

Case and point:

http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/sports/...ne-mugshot.jpg

:sarcasm:

MXD 03-22-2008 01:38 PM

Smarts? There were guys notorious for their smarts, rather than their .... well .... natural skills for a while. Most reports points to Henri Richard as one of the smartest player that ever played the game... and that had little to do with school.

The n00b King 03-22-2008 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MXD (Post 13215523)
Smarts? There were guys notorious for their smarts, rather than their .... well .... natural skills for a while. Most reports points to Henri Richard as one of the smartest player that ever played the game... and that had little to do with school.

Juneau has is au Aeronautical Engineer. You need to be pretty darn smart!

You know, we complain that Lats is slow...but if you remember Juneau...i dont think it would be possible to be slower then Juneau...


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