Who Do You Play For?



What a way to kick off the home stretch, the 2012 part of the 2011-12 season- Marek Zidlicky is mad as hell and ain't gonna take it no more, and Mike Yeo wasn't too tickled that Zidlicky went to Mike Russo of the Star Tribune to air out his grievances. In a way it's easy to sympathize with Zidlicky; anyone with an iota of pride doesn't ever want to feel like they aren't getting their fair shake. Having been in a past career where I felt that as well, the empathy is there. You know you can contribute, especially when as an "offensive defenseman" and "power play specialist" you see your team go on a horrendous skid that they may or may not be pulling out of.

But.

I thought Yeo made a point in his dialogue with the media jackals that is worth mention:

"As a team, we knew three years in a row we haven’t made the playoffs, so we knew we had to change the culture here. We knew we had to change the environment either. So in order for that to happen, the players No. 1 had to know what was expected of them and No. 2 everybody has to be held accountable."


Its not about my way or the highway; its about getting everyone on board and when someone isn't pulling their weight, they are held accountable. It is a collective unit, but the cogs in that unit are all different; but the end result is that everyone works in lockstep in order to win a Stanley Cup.

Zidlicky, on Yeo:

“It wasn’t me. It wasn’t my style. I tried to explain it to him couple times, but he wants something different. I don’t think I can change something when you are like 34 years old.”


Remember when the gauntlet was thrown down about the team having a high fitness acumen when Training Camp started? It was one of the new changes in culture in the Yeo era- sure Guillaume Latendresse was singled out since he was a surgical mess last year, but Zidlicky was one of the guilty parties too. Or as Mike Russo put it in a radio interview, Zidlicky actually gained weight as the season went on.

The bottom line is this- with Chuck Fletcher and Mike Yeo, their jobs are to win hockey games. Period. Sign or trade for guys who will fit in the concept. Ride the hot goalie. Go with the lineup that is winning. Or you get fired.

At a certain point, you have to throw senority or contract status or age out the window because you have to win games; injuries create opportunities to for others, and when you're oft-injured and ineffective like Zidlicky has been this season, you're bound to sit and eat pressbox popcorn night in and night out. You look at a guy like Nate Prosser, who because he isn't waiver-eligible (on his 4th callup this year,) gets the shaft because even though when he plays the team wins, he'll get sent back to Houston when say, a Zidlicky returns from Injured Reserve and the team stumbles.

It reaches a point where it gets to nut-cuttin' time, and you just play Prosser, at the expense of whoever. Don't like it? Do something to get back into the good graces of the people responsible for putting you in the lineup. Worked for Greg Zanon- he's playing regularly now.

The most concerning thing about Zidlicky is not just that he feels he's entitled to play, but that he's convinced that he can't (or won't) change his game in order for it to work under Yeo's team concept, even though Yeo isn't asking him to change his game. To me that means we've passed the point of no return with Marek Zidlicky.

1 comment: