Patrick O'Sullivan to NSH
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08-09-2010, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
I think that the whole "mentally disturbed" thing is overblown. People want to explain why he's an underachiever and his past is a convenient explanation. If he were Russian, the underachievement would be chalked up to the way that he and other Russians (stereo)typically are... but, he's American, so it must be something else. That's not to say that his past didn't shape who he is today, but he's grown up enough so that
responsible for what he does, not his dad. It's like an adult blaming his/her obesity on a similar upbringing -- ok, so it set you on a unhealthy course, but it's your own fault if, as an adult, you refuse to live healthily.
O'Sullivan has not been a chronic underachiever. His best years came very shortly after his break with his dad. If memories of his dad could've hurt his play, they would've done so then, when the memories were fresh. Instead, he moved on by tearing up the OHL again and going on to win AHL Rookie of the Year. He even had a promising first season and a half in the NHL. Then, he hit a wall because he wouldn't do the little things the way that the coaches wanted,
because the dad that he hadn't talked to in five years suddenly started occupying his thoughts again.
As I implied, O'Sullivan is kind of like an American Russian: he's quiet, misunderstood, can seem lazy and tends to try to get by on skill a little too much. His past could've shaped these traits, but it's he who chooses to be this way now, as an adult. If that means questioning his work ethic, so be it. He's old enough to take responsibility. He shouldn't be handed excuses still. Besides, considering how mature he sounds in that article written a year or so after he left his dad, I don't think that he'd make any, himself.
Anyways, I've always liked O'Sullivan and, honestly, when he was in LA, it was hard to understand exactly what the coaches wanted from him. I saw willingness from him to change his game to appease them (ex. they pressed him to throw checks, so, shockingly, he started throwing several per game), but, when it compromised other areas (ex. his scoring), he went back in the doghouse. Maybe understanding what the coaches want from him is one of his weaknesses and why he finds himself in the situations that he has. Maybe a good "players' coach" like Trotz will establish the communication level and quality that O'Sullivan needs to be comfortable. I think that it could be a good fit (it doesn't mean that it will be, but the potential is there).
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