IBC Coach’s Breakfast 11-19-08

7th Woman's picture
7 am was way too early for my liking, but I made it to Bethpage Park by 7:05 am even after taking a short detour and stopping for gas. This was the first Coach’s Breakfast for the IBC this season, and Scott Gordon’s first presentation to an intimate group of the Islanders fans from the business sector. I couldn’t wait to see the reactions. I got exactly what I had hoped for.
Master of Ceremony, Mike Bossy started off the presentation portion of breakfast by telling some great little stories, and he does a great impression of Clark Gillies. But my favorite was when he interrupted his own introduction of Scott Gordon and his video presentation to say “When Scott told me he was bringing a video, his computer, a flash drive and was burning a CD for this morning’s breakfast meeting, all I could think of was Al Arbour’s idea of a coaches breakfast would be a coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other.”
There was laughter filling the room and even Gordon chuckled, “Well, I don’t have any cigarettes.”
Scott Gordon certainly comes to class well prepared. And his class this morning was captivated. He showed a video from the New England Patriots driving home the points of never giving up on a play, no matter what the sport is and connecting that concept to the business community.
“We’re changing the culture of the team. The way we work, how we practice, a different style of play, the mindset is a level of accountability and a style that is exciting to watch.” He touched briefly on his winning record in the AHL and admitted it is a slow process. He said having the accountability factor from the Captains and the players is like having 20 coaches in the room.
Scott explained how he breaks down each game into separate video clips and files them in his computer folders to use to explain things to individual players or to the team as a whole. One of the best lines from the video was “If you don’t run during the game, you’re going to run after it.”
He is trying to get this current team to play to win instead of playing not to lose. These are phrases we’ve heard from him since he first landed in Uniondale.
It broke my heart when he used a clip of Sean Bergenheim to drive home a point about team work. It seems Sean was in trouble for skating by Doug Weight when he was engaged in a little pushing match with an opposing player. It was Bill Guerin who skated over to stand up for Weight. It was about team work and standing up for each other. That clip was then contrasted by a clip of Andy Hilbert doing his best impression of a bowling ball into the net to save a goal.
“There are two types of players in the NHL. Those who have uncommon talent and those who have uncommon effort. Anyone can have uncommon effort.” Gordon commented that you have to have one to STAY in the NHL. But again, this theory transcends hockey and can be applied to any job. It’s also the way Gordon is looking at making the most of what he has.
Ted Nolan always used to say “You have to win with what you have,” and as much as I liked Ted, I never really saw him try to make what he had any better. Scott Gordon is determined to make those on his roster better players for the organization and for themselves.
One of the attendees asked him how the older players are handling his new system.
“It really is more a mental thing than physical. Trent Hunter has been one of the most successful. Every player last year (in his Providence AHL team) had career years. Doug Weight is on line to have a +70 point season. He had 29 points last season.” Personally, I think Doug Weight has really surprised a lot of people, including himself.
“My first four years in Providence I had a 1 year contract. All I knew was that all I could do was the best I could, that allows me to keep my focus. If you’re not pushing yourself each day, you’re cheating yourself and your team.” Again, he mentioned this is a theme for any business.
At the end of the presentation the attendees were encouraged to mix and mingle and even offered photo opportunities with Mike Bossy, Bobby Nystrom and Freddy Myer. The Lighthouse team was also there discussing current developments and answering questions.
Gordon tried to make a break for it by 8:30 am because, after all, he did have a team to take care of. But he was gracious enough to stand in his coat toting his computer and other equipment long enough to sign copies of Islanders Illustrated for many very impressed members.
When I brought some of my own team members to meet him, Scott looked at me and smiled “Do you show up at EVERYTHING?” Feeling somewhat deflated, but understanding the question I just answered truthfully. “Yes Scott. I do.” Especially when there’s coffee.
The Islanders Business Club is a wonderful way to interact with other local companies both large and small. It’s networking that works.