Sam Spurlin
Nov 24, 2017 · 3 min read

I’m a little wary to go down the “life lessons learned from hockey” path but I’m going to do it anyway. One of the best coaches I ever had was adamant that we spent as little time as possible standing still on the ice. His point was that it’s easier to change directions if you’re already in motion — even if you’re going the wrong direction. Standing still, being caught flat-footed, was a cardinal sin. It meant you weren’t thinking the game at a very high level and were simply reacting to what was happening in front of you instead of being an active participant.

I think I’ve adopted some of this mentality in my professional life as well. I’m generally not a person who agonizes over decisions. In my mind, making quick decisions means I’m always in motion. Being in motion means it’s easier for me to react to whatever comes at me next.

There isn’t a worse feeling as a defenseman than standing still at the offensive blue line and realizing that an opposing forward has somehow gotten behind you and the pass is ever so slightly out of your reach. I don’t know what the real life equivalent of that situation is, but I’d like to think that my years as a hockey player and learning to never stand still has helped me avoid it.


  • Let’s just start this up front by saying this game was terrible if you’re a Red Wings fan. Probably worse than the first game against Vancouver which up until this point held the dubious honor of Worst Game in the 2017–2018 Season. You’ll have the occasional game like this but you just wish it wasn’t at home against garbage team playing on the second night of a back-to-back where they got crushed the game before.
  • On the first goal of the game — or maybe it was the second? — Mike Green played a 3-on-2 like it was a 2-on-2, with predictable results. Granted, the first backchecker needed to look over his shoulder but there really wasn’t any reason Green needed to come all the way across the ice to stay with the puck carrier.
  • You ever see a dog that used to love playing fetch or running around but is so decrepit and old all he can really do is lay around and kind of mosey about? But every once in awhile that dog has a really good day and you see a glimmer of puppyhood in his eye and he’s jumping around like he’s years younger than he actually is? That’s what it’s like whenever Kronwall catches somebody with their head down with an open ice hit. Everybody gets a glimpse of the past, smiles a little bit, nudges their friend and says, “Remember when he used to do that all the time?”
  • All of my notes I took during the first period were so full of optimism. I said that I like when Tatar scores early because he seems like a different player when he gets a goal under his belt. I guess not so much in this game.
  • Blashill had some tough love for Mantha after the game and since I finished watching this game a couple days after it aired I decided to watch Mantha closely to see if it was justified. It was. Mantha was garbage. Uninterested, floaty, and a complete non-factor. A guy who plays almost 20 minutes a game need to be better than that.
  • This is one of the best tweets I’ve seen in awhile.

The Wings lose to the Oilers in resounding fashion, falling to 10–9–3 on the season.

Odd Man Rush

Game recaps and commentary from someone who used to be kind of good at hockey.

Sam Spurlin

Written by

Organization design guy at The Ready.

Odd Man Rush

Game recaps and commentary from someone who used to be kind of good at hockey.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade