Three central players currently on the Colorado Avalanche roster don’t have a Stanley Cup attitude, and that can be hurting the team.
At the end of the 2013-14 season, head coach Patrick Roy remarked that it was difficult to win a Stanley Cup. He should know what it takes — he won it four times. Defenseman Adam Foote also remarked that the playoffs take a certain kind of player. “It’s not to everybody’s taste.”
In a previous post, I outlined what I thought comprised a Stanley Cup attitude:
My conclusion is that a Stanley Cup attitude isn’t pretty. It’s not about working hard — players have to do that just to keep their job in the NHL. It’s not just about believing in yourself — same thing.
A Stanley Cup attitude is a will to win at all costs.
A Stanley Cup attitude is also about supreme confidence.
And a Stanley Cup attitude is about getting out of your own head.
Over three posts I’m going to rate the most important players on the team, the men who can be difference-makers on and off the ice. For this post, let’s look at three Avs who have the least Stanley Cup attitude of anyone on the team.
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Defenseman Tyson Barrie plays like a rover who focuses on his defense last of all — which is not what the team needs. What’s more, he seems very concerned with getting his big payday. I think he’s more concerned with that than with working toward the team goal of becoming Cup contenders. This is not a player who’s willing to change much of anything about himself for the team.
Indeed, during the 2013-14 season he remarked that he was going to play his style of hockey no matter what and make the team or not based on that.
I think Semyon Varlamov is less selfish than that. However, he’s the opposite of a clutch goalie. He seems to choke during the big games — or maybe he relies on his athleticism over his training. Whatever it is, he doesn’t appear willing to go to a sports psychologist or work harder on training in order to win.
I’m surprised by Jarome Iginla — this is his last hurrah as a player. The future Hall of Famer doesn’t have a Stanley Cup ring — you’d think he’d be willing to do anything to win one. However, last season he disappeared for large stretches of time. A 22-goal season is hardly impressive in a player who used to average 30+ goals every single year.
It’s true that Iginla is aging. However, he’s renowned as being one of the great leaders in the NHL. If he can no longer play like he once did, he should be implementing his leadership abilities. Yet as Terry Frei of the Denver Post observed, he seems reluctant to do so.
That’s definitely not a player with a hunger to win that supersedes everything — including his own shame at aging.
Luckily that’s just three players. Of the three, I think Jarome Iginla is the one who’s most likely to get out of his own head and develop a stronger Stanley Cup attitude.
All these players can have a turnaround. Like I said, I think Iginla is the most likely followed by Varlamov. I don’t see much leadership in Tyson Barrie, though.
In the next post we’ll look at players who are on the fence with their Stanley Cup attitude.