Calgary Flames hire a 'mental development coach'

Thumbnail image for Sutter.jpgYogi Berra, New York Yankees legend and expert butcher of cliches, once said that baseball is “Ninety percent physical and the other half is mental.”

It appears that Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter – or someone within the Flames organization – took that dictum to heart and wants the team to give 180 percent. Steve Ovadia of Puck Update reveals that the team hired a “mental development coach” named Dave Paskevich. Ovadia explains a little bit more about the situation and why the Flames would make such a move.

I’m not sure if this was Darryl Sutter’s call, or if it was made for Sutter, but it indicates that someone in the organization thinks that the Calgary flaws aren’t necessarily talent-related.

Earlier this month, I suggested Sutter was revisiting some of his less successful signings to prove they were actually strong signings that didn’t execute properly.

If Sutter is behind the Paskevich hiring, that could indicate he thinks the problems with Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay were mental. And solvable.

If it wasn’t Sutter’s call, it still indicates a faith in Sutter’s moves. Someone believes the Flames are a good team that just needs to get out of its own collective head.

If you’re like me, you cannot help but picture Robin Williams in his “Good Will Hunting” role, holding a sobbing Jay Bouwmeester as he repeats “It’s not your fault.”

All joking aside, the Flames could use all the help they can get. To say that I’m skeptical about their off-season moves is an understatement, but it’s always interesting to see teams go off the beaten path to try to improve their chances. Ovadia notes that the Senators, Canucks, Blackhawks and Maple Leafs employed someone in a similar position, so perhaps NHL teams are starting to come around to the process. Considering all the heart and courage required in this sport, it makes sense that teams are respecting the power of modern psychology.

We’ll see if it yields any results on the ice, though.

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    Commodore rips into Babcock on social media

    Mike Commodore
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    Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.

    Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.

    As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being embarrassed in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.

    Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.

    “3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”

    Commodore wasn’t done there:

    And there was much, much more.

    To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.




    Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

    Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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    Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

    Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

    Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

    The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

    “When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

    Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

    The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

    “It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”