Showing posts with label Hockey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hockey. Show all posts

March 6, 2018

Behind the Bench: Inside the Mind of Hockey’s Greatest Coaches by Craig Custance

They are motivators, key strategists, tough bosses, and choreographers. They can be branded as heroes, ousted as scapegoats, quietly valued as friends, and everything in between. It's all in the job description for an NHL head coach. In Behind the Bench, ESPN's Craig Custance sits down for film sessions and candid conversations with some of the game's most notable modern luminaries—names like Mike Babcock, Joel Quenneville, Dan Bylsma, Todd McLellan, Ken Hitchcock, and Claude Julien—all of whom share their singular views on topics ranging from leadership secrets to on-ice game plans. Dissect some of hockey's greatest moments with the men who set the pieces in motion. Go straight to the source on what it's like to manage a dressing room full of the league's top stars or execute line changes with everything at stake. Signature games, including Stanley Cup finals, Olympic gold medal clashes, and World Championship contests—both wins and losses—are reflected upon and broken down in detail, making this essential reading for current and aspiring coaches, players, and hockey fans alike.

Being the self-proclaimed hockey nerd that I am, I couldn’t help grabbing a copy of Craig’s book. Most of the time, you have no issue hearing from players and getting their perspectives about the game, but this one was different. This one dives into the mind of an NHL coach – maybe one of the most scrutinized jobs in the sport.

I’ve got to admire the work and time that Craig put in to crafting this book. It wasn’t as simple as writing his thoughts out about the coaches and their successes. He took the time to travel to them, spend hours with them, and watch a hockey game that has defined their career. That takes effort, commitment, and passion for the work. That shows through in the quality of writing.

If you are also a hockey fan (which, I couldn’t really imagine a non fan picking up a book all about the sport) then you will probably fly through this one like I did. The writing is crisp and to the point while allowing each coach’s personality to come through. Quotes, descriptions . . . he’s got it all.

I’ll admit my bias and say I was most interested in reading Joel Quenneville’s chapter since I’m a Blackhawks fan. But, I think it says a lot about the book that it wasn’t even my favorite interview or the one that stood out the most. That award would probably go to Tortorella/Sullivan or Hitchock.

Behind the Bench is a great read, and I highly recommend it to any fan of the sport.

5/5 Stars

Click to Purchase!

October 12, 2017

If These Walls Could Talk by Mark Lazerus

Led by stars like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook, the Chicago Blackhawks are a modern NHL powerhouse, as much a part of Chicago as the Willis Tower or The Bean at Millennium Park. In If These Walls Could Talk: Chicago Blackhawks, Mark Lazerus chronicles the team's rise from the dark ages of the 2000s to the golden age of the 2010s through never-before-told stories from inside the dressing room, aboard the team plane, at the players' homes, and — especially in the case of the rowdy 2009-2010 team that started it all — in countless Chicago bars. If These Walls Could Talk: Chicago Blackhawks will bring readers closer to their favorite players than ever before. It's a book Hawks fans won't want to be without.

Now, maybe I am a bit biased. The Chicago Blackhawks are my life and I thoroughly enjoy reading what Mark has to say on Twitter and interacting with him. When he dropped a book about the team, it was a no-brainer to pre-order it. I knew that I would, at the very least, have fun reading it.

What I didn’t expect was the emotional rollercoaster that this book was going to take me on.
Mark lays out the framework for how the Chicago Blackhawks went from being one of the worst franchises in sports to being at the top of the world as 3-time Stanley Cup Champions with this core group. He interjects stories and quotes from players and coaches. It really takes you on a ride.

Now, the book is pretty short for one that spans over multiple years, losses, heartbreaks, and the resurgence of a lifetime. Despite its length, it packs one hell of a punch. I found myself laughing a lot at their antics, and I founds myself crying like a baby reliving the glory of those championship years and reading about how the players love each other and this city.

Mark Lazerus is a writer. It’s what he does for a living. The writing was going to be good. But he took so many years . . . so many emotions . . . and jammed them all into a paperback novel that will make you feel something. If you’re a Blackhawks fan, you’ll end up like me. If you’re a fan of any team other than the Pittsburgh Penguins, it may fill you with rage because you’re sick of these players having success. Regardless, it will make you FEEL. That right there is what makes this a great book.

5/5 Stars

Click To Purchase!

January 6, 2013

Not a book review

I know this isn't a book review but I have to post about it anyways. 
The NHL and NHLPA have finally agreed to a tentative deal to end the NHL lockout!!
I am so excited. I just want my hockey back and my Blackhawks back out on the ice!

Sorry I just had to share this excitement!