In the Stanley Cup playoffs, and playoffs everywhere – you know, it’s just part of hockey – they why is much different than the how.
We know how the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. They received excellent goaltending from Petr Mrazek, their young defensemen, led by veteran Justin Faulk, rose to the occasion, and their leaders up front – the resurgent Jordan Staal, the incredible Sebastien Aho, and Mr. Game 7 himself, the ageless Justin Williams – delivered when the team needed it most.
But why? Why did it happen?
Culture is being tossed around the hockey sphere at a dizzying pace these days. Sometimes it’s used as a crutch for blaming a team’s failures on a lack of it, sometimes it’s used to describe why a group of professional athletes enjoys competing for each other.
The Carolina Hurricanes represent the latter. These players love playing for each other. They love playing for their coach. they love the swell of support from their fans. You think every individual in that dressing room enjoys the post-game regular season storm surge. Hell no. But they’re committed to the team and the process, and the result is triumphant speeches like this from rookie head coach Rod Brind’Amour.
That speech wouldn’t be possible if Brind’Amour and the Hurricanes weren’t committed to their process for the entire regular season. the Hurricanes are progressive. They’re committed to analytics. They’re committed to sport science. Sure, there are ups and downs, but when your culture is this strong, your belief, your values, then anything is possible.
Why? Just ask the Washington Capitals.
From last week, in case you missed it…