The painter Claude Monet, as he progressed in the mental side of his art, began a series of paintings that recorded the same subject at different times of the day. A kind of time lapse before that particular photographic trick was possible. What Monet was doing was illustrating that small changes make you appreciate something a little bit more than you otherwise might. His paintings of Haystacks or Water Lilies are remarkable enough by themselves but next to each other you are able to see just how stunning they are.
Creating a play starts a long way away from the hopeful result. That first pass or exit from your own zone is crucial to the forward who either takes the pass or carries out. What happens after that is when the paint starts hitting the canvas. Spencer Abbott, this season with the Marlies, has distinguished his artistry with the puck by setting up nearly every player on the team. His output has been so significant he has assisted on nearly half of everyone’s goals. Take for instance the amazing totals of T.J. Brennan. The All-Star defenseman has 20 goals. Abbott has assisted on half of them.
“He’s an amazing player to be on the ice with…” Brennan is effusive with praise, “…nearly every shift he takes a pass ends up on your stick from a place you didn’t expect. I was really happy to see him recognized as an All-Star.”
“Spencer is a gifted player. There isn’t anybody we have put him with that hasn’t been made better by what he brings to the ice.” Steve Spott, head coach of the Marlies, has spent most of the season moving players into position with Abbott and seeing how well they work with creativity. The aforementioned results speak for themselves.
Abbott has a humble way about him that speaks volumes about his economy of words. He is to the point and hardly ever expands beyond what is necessary to say about his game, the team, himself. The former Hamilton Jr. Red Wing and Maine Black Bear is unassuming and understated in his own assessment of his game that showed brilliance at both those levels and shows it right now in the AHL.
“I’m just going out there and trying to find guys. I mean I’d like to score more I suppose too. That’s part of my game I’d like to grow.” He shrugs as a kind of, ‘if it happens great’ end to that statement. It puts in opposition the way he plays which by watching you would assume has a ton of intensity and focus.
After a particularly incredible game where Abbott had another multi point night he was asked whether some nights he saw the ice better than others. His answer demonstrates why his is the teammate he is.
“The guys worked hard tonight and we found ways to score. Just hard work.”
Hard work explains a lot in this game as it does with great art. Monet had to mix the paint, stretch the canvas, prepare his brushes, all the usual stuff every painter does and then on top of that, think to show up everyday at different times to capture the different lighting of a different time of day. At a certain point, you have to credit the creativity no matter how much hard work was done.
It is impossible not to credit the creative Spencer Abbott for a good deal of the Marlies success at different times throughout this season.