Captain Joe steps up

A real leader can rally the troops when the chips are down - and that's exactly what happened

W

hat he does when the chips are down, when all the breaks seem to be bad, defines a leader.

The Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals can’t buy a victory on home ice. Last Friday night they outplayed the Comox Valley Nighthawks by a wide margin, only to lose in a shootout.

The Generals scored what looked to be the winning goal less than a minute into overtime. The referee had signalled goal and the Generals poured off the bench in joy to celebrate. The coaching staff was already down the tunnel and in the dressing room.

Hold the phone. The referee, who was in the best position to make the call and did so emphatically, decided he should conference with the linesmen, who were in their positions way out at the blueline when the puck went in the net. After the chat by the stripes, the goal was called off. Soon the Generals were talking about another loss.

These players could be excused for feeling hard done by, for wondering why the hockey gods have abandoned them. They could sulk and feel sorry for themselves — their friends, parents and fans would likely sympathize.

But a good captain wouldn’t let that happen. A good captain would rally the troops, create some kind of us-against-the-world atmosphere in the room. A good captain would try to turn all that negative energy into a positive.

Clearly, Joe Chase is a good captain.

“We’re sticking together,” the hulking 20-year-old defenceman from Olympia, Wash. told me outside the dressing room after the game. “We’re pissed off in a way that’s pulling us together.”

Chase was asked about the lack of success on home ice in this young season (one win in five games and a shocking 0-for-19 on the power play). He gave a thoughtful response, one you could tell he had either said to his teammates or would be doing so soon.

“It all comes down to mental preparation,” the 6-5 blueliner said. “Maybe, it’s guys laying around all day.”

Ah, get the message boys? It seems to me like Joe says it’s time to change things up on the days of home games. Perhaps put the video games down, get off the couch, watch what you eat, get the proper amount of rest and be ready to play?

The only semi-bad period the Generals had last Friday was the first period. And this after getting spanked 9-4 only 48 hours earlier in Victoria. That’s curious at best, inexcusable at worst.

Something tells me this Saturday night at Oceanside Place against the Saanich Braves (7:30 p.m. start) will be different — the captain of this club is going to make sure these young Generals are ready to play. Joe is on the job.

John Harding is the editor of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News. E-mail: editor@pqbnews.com.

 

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