In this week's 'Making of a Royal' blog, assistant coach Steve Webb discusses the team's play in the Bauer International Invite in Chicago, Ill. After earning victories over the Toronto Eagles (Ont.), Ice Jets Academy (Tex.), Detroit Warriors (Mich.), Indiana Ice and Team Wisconsin, the Royals suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to Detroit Honey Baked (Mich.) in the tournament semifinal round. Webb also talks about the process that's required to becoming a 'great' player.
Our recent tournament in Chicago went well. We went in there and showed what we had. Our games on Sunday [Nov. 6] were our best games against Wisconsin and Honey Baked. You always want to leave on a high note, so I was very impressed with the way our team prepared for the final two games and came out and actually executed all day long.
When you get into shootout situations, it's pretty exciting for the kids on the bench. It was definitely a roller coaster ride, for every shooter and the kids were up and down. It was a very fun thing to be a part of … to observe these kids and see their reactions. The emotions involved really galvanized our team which was a positive spin at the end of a tournament that you lose.
To tell you the truth, we had a couple tough games at the start. I don't think we really performed that well; we didn't come prepared to play the game. We get these guys to prepare and the first four games we weren't prepared. What we've been stressing since the first tournament of the year in Vermont is that it's each player's responsibility when they get to the rink to prepare for the game. Whatever they have to do, whether a team stretch or something, you have to prepare for each other.
We had conversations about using the 'Y Athlete' website and work on our preparation since we weren't really excited about the way we were preparing for the games. They had to start evaluating themselves on their preparation and we'll do that for about a month and see where that goes; see if they start getting focused a little bit earlier in the dressing room.
The Indiana game [a 4-3 win] was back and forth. The only reason we won was because Indiana had to win in order to move on, so they actually pulled their goalie late in the third and Justin [Bailey] scored an empty-net goal or else we would have ended in a tie.
We always talk to the kids, explain to them how they are each accountable for the results. If you want to be a great player, there's a process you have to do on a daily basis in order to achieve these results. If you're not willing to do them, then you're going to have up and down times where you're going to have mediocre results on some days.