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03-22-2008, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Quiet Robert View Post
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!

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