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08-05-2004, 03:34 PM
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the blame over optional practices falls on the players imo, not the coaches...

'optional' does NOT mean that you can sleep in, our players just took that option because they were lazy and didn't care...

other teams probably give players the 'option' to take the day off and rest if needed, but how many times do you think scott stevens decides to skip practice so he can sleep late??

my high school baseball coach told us "optional practice is just another way of saying 'you better effing be there, but be there because you want to be there and because you want to get better and because you care about the team and your teammates, not because someone is forcing you to be there'"

in other words, the coach can force the players to practice, but he can't make them truly care and a group of guys simply going thru the motions because someone is making them really isn't a team...if you can skip practice for no reason (obviously if the player is nursing an injury that is different) and you don't feel like you are letting your teammates down, then there is a expect your teammates to be there and work hard, so why aren't you doing the same?

and i think you gotta point fingers at the veteran leaders on the team for allowing it to him...if sather said 'optional practice tomorrow at 8', either messier or leetch or holik or whoever should have immediately stood up and said 'that means everyone on the ice at 7:45, no exceptions'...of course that never happened because it was the veteran 'leaders' that were taking the days off

NYR469 is offline