Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Special Peerless Prognosticator Panel

Desperate times call for desperate measures.. After last night’s 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes, The Peerless has taken it upon himself to call upon the legends of coaching to find a way for the Caps to get out of their six-week funk. Our panel today includes . . .

Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers…
“Hey, how are ya?”

John Wooden, famed coach of the UCLA Bruins basketball team…
“Good morning.”

Knute Rockne, the greatest coach in storied Notre Dame football history…
“Glad to be here.”

Casey Stengel, the ‘”Ol’ Perfesser” of the New York Yankees…
“It’s amazin’ to be here.”

And John Madden – football coach, analyst, commentator, and raconteur.
“Hey, Peerless, how are ya?”

Gentlemen, let’s get right to it. The Caps are deep in a hole – 13th place, looking up at five teams to get into the playoffs. They have 33 games to play. How to they right their ship? Coach Lombardi?

Vince Lombardi: “Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price.”

Knute Rockne: “I used to tell my boys, ‘It's up to us to show them what we've got. Let's get down to business and carry the mail.’”

So what you’re saying is, there’s no substitute for hard work or excuse for putting out less than 100 percent?

Casey Stengel: “yeah, I used to say, ‘If we're going to win the pennant, we've got to start thinking we're not as good as we think we are.’”

So maybe the Caps think they’re better than they are?

John Wooden: “Perhaps. I think it’s important that you don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

Lombardi: “But I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, his greatest fulfillment of all he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.”

Stengel: “And ya can’t baby these guys. I told one kid, ‘Son, we'd like to keep you around this season but we're going to try and win a pennant.’”

Rockne: (laughs) “We had the same thing at Notre Dame. I told ‘em, ‘do you want to bring shame on Notre Dame! Are you afraid to get sweat? You are gonna sweat all the way out to your fingernails!’ That got their attention.”

Lombardi: “Absolutely. If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”

Wooden: “And that’s why character is important. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Well, the Caps were riding high back in December – 15-10-7. Things looked good. They’ve been 5-12-0 since, and…

Wooden: “Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself.”

You’re saying the Caps can find an identity in this?

Rockne: “It’s like football. Football is a game played with arms, legs and shoulders but mostly from the neck up.”

Lombardi: “It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.”

One problem that I see in this is that players start playing outside the system – either trying to do too much themselves or playing for their own stats. What do you gentlemen think?

Lombardi: “Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Rockne: “The secret is to work less as individuals and more as a team. As a coach, I play not my eleven best, but my best eleven.”

Wooden: “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”

Stengel: “All I ask is that you bust your heiny on that field.”

The Caps have 33 games left and a hard path to clear. If you were going to walk into the locker room tonight before their game against Carolina, what would you tell them?

Stengel: “You gotta lose 'em some of the time. When you do, lose 'em right.”

Wooden: “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Rockne: “No star playing, just hockey.”

Lombardi: “Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later the man who wins, is the man who thinks he can.”

Coach Madden?...You’ve been pretty quiet. Anything to add?

Madden: “Uh . . . you got any turducken?”

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