As told to Jess Isner
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is keeping a diary for BostonBruins.com during the team’s 11-day road trip through Western Canada and the Midwest. In this edition, he talks about the practice itinerary the day before Boston’s game against Calgary, and he touches on the importance of team-wide communication — and the importance of staying positive — in sports.
I said yesterday that when things aren’t going the way that you had hoped, you can’t wait to get back on the ice — and that was definitely the case when we hit the ice for practice at Corral Arena in Calgary.
Today’s practice was a bit unusual in that we got dressed for practice — everything except our skates — at the Saddledome, and then walked across to Corral to actually get our practice underway. It’s something different from normal practice days at Ristuccia, but it was nice to see some fans along the way during the short walk.
Today was our first opportunity to get back to work after Friday’s game, given Saturday’s off-day. We had a pretty good skate that way — just trying to get back to business, and obviously we had some things in particular that we went over and talked about. There are definitely things that we need to do in order to be better and to get the results that we need.
Communication is a big key for us right now — on and off the ice. Some might say it’s even the key to success in any team sport. The communication, the support — that’s what’s so important with this group. When we’re communicating and when we’re supporting one another on the ice, and when everyone is doing their own individual job within the team game, you bring all that together and things usually work out for us pretty well. When you’re communicating and supporting one another, you at least know that you’re giving yourselves the right opportunities.
Right now, we’re focusing on those little things in our gameplan that we need to execute better in order to have success, but we’re also working on communicating and on staying positive as a group. I think there’s a balance when you’re not getting the results you want but you’re trying to stay positive; there’s always going to be a little bit of frustration, and that just comes with being a professional athlete, and being a competitor, and wanting to perform well. When things don’t go well, you’re always looking for ways to change that.
But you can’t let frustration get to the point where you are letting it become the only thing you’re thinking about. You can’t let it snowball. But when the results aren’t there, it’s very easy to get frustrated, and I think that’s probably human nature, in a lot of ways. The key is, if you can use that frustration in the right way and not let it affect you in a negative way — if you can work your way through it and stay positive — then you can kind of work it to your advantage that way. It can motivate you to be better.
The good thing about our dressing room is that we have a pretty good leadership group on our team, and sometimes, when things aren’t necessarily going the way that you hoped, guys are going to address it and want to fix it. That goes back to the communication part: It’s always a good sign when you’re able to communicate with your teammates and support one another. When guys are willing to talk to each other — and hold themselves, and each other, accountable — it’s much easier to come together as a unit and find ways to improve.
You always want practice to be hard and focused, but it was even more so today. Just with the way the last game went — not so much losing, but the way that we lost — we were excited to get back to work and try to right the ship. It was good to get back together as a group, get on the ice, and put in that work to get ourselves moving in the right direction again, and hopefully that starts on Monday night against the Flames.