Not to get all Walter White after the fact but; it is all about chemistry. Good teams have fallen apart because of one player. Coaches spend as much time on chemistry as they do on line combinations trying to make sure everyone is in the circle and if someone is on the outside of it, that they don’t pull anyone else out their way. That almost leans into physics and gravity. No wonder they teach this stuff to school kids.
The Marlies have gone north to start getting serious about the season. Head Coach Steve Spott was clear that this was about a team getting comfortable with itself. “There are so many new faces, myself included, that this is an opportunity to get away and get know each other differently than we would at the rink.”
With a substantial road trip (one that isn’t just overnight) more than a month away this was beyond a good idea. This kind of thinking exposes Spott as a long-term planner with broad vision. Good road trips are to a team what feathers are to birds, absolutely necessary for successful upward movement.
Surprisingly, for some who came out of junior hockey the pre-season getaway is pretty foreign. For the guys out of the Western or Quebec League where getting to the home rink for practice can be a road trip, it might seem a little crazy to make one up just for fun. NCAA guys have seen it before more than a few times if they went the full four years. Andrew MacWilliam and his fellow Fighting Sioux would go off to the lake before facing off for the season. “We’ll get to know the guys, a little golf trip, get to know each other better.”
Questioning the value of it? Hindsight not being readily available yet, no fan would want to get to November, 10 games along, and find the reason the team isn’t doing well is because they indefinably haven’t quite got it together. To his credit Steve Spott seems to prefer to craft the team he would like, rather than fix one he doesn’t sometime later in the season.
The season opens with a tough test against the Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins at 3pm on Saturday and a late afternoon Sunday tussle with the Monsters from Cleveland (Lake Erie) at 5pm.