Tag Archives: Vancouver Canucks

What’s Wrong with the Dallas Cowboys?

Yesterday evening was the last game of the 2013 NFL regular season. It featured the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys — bitter rivals — in what was a game where the winner was crowned the NFC East division champion. Both teams took very different paths to the game. The Eagles started the season quite poorly, losing 5 of their first 8 games. The Cowboys finished the season quite poorly, losing 3 of their last 4 games (including the game last night against the Eagles). The one win in the last 4 games for the Cowboys was in the game just before last night’s game where the team’s QB, Tony Romo, played through a season-ending injury to lift the Cowboys to victory.

As Tony Romo was one of the team’s stars, most people didn’t give the Cowboys much of a chance of winning last night’s game. However, there they were, in the waning minutes of the game, with a chance to win. What happened instead? A mental error. The Cowboys have been making mental errors near the end of the game more frequently than they had been in decades past. More importantly, there have been these mental errors when the game is on the line.

Let’s back up for a moment and look at the Cowboys as a franchise. They are one of the most storied football teams in the NFL and certainly one of the most lucrative. In the ’90s, they had what could be called a dynasty when they won the Superbowl in 3 out of 4 years between 1992 and 1995. In the decade of the ’90s, they only missed the playoffs twice (1990 and 1997). In that one decade, they made the playoffs more times than they have in the past 14 years (6 times). What happened?

In 2000, Troy Aikman, the star QB of the ’90s for the Cowboys, retired. In the time between Aikman (and Romo), the Cowboys had a potpourri of QBs that I’m sure most people would rather not remember. In 2006, when Romo took over as the starter in the middle of the season, the Cowboys went on to make the playoffs. They went on to make the playoffs in 3 out of the first 4 seasons that Romo was the QB, but haven’t been back to the playoffs in the last 4 seasons.

Based on how some of those seasons ended and/or how some of those playoff games ended, it seems evident that Tony Romo is in dire need of a sports psychologist. If we go back to the 2006 season playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, Tony Romo dropped the ball when the kicker was attempting a go ahead field goal with less than 100 seconds left in the game. Or the playoffs in the next season when the Cowboys were tied for the 2nd best record in the NFL. Tony Romo threw an interception in the end zone with less than 10 seconds to go in the game. Or last season’s final game when all the Cowboys had to do was win and they were in the playoffs — Romo threw 3 interceptions. Last night Romo didn’t play, but if we can look at more than one game this season when Romo threw an interception when the game was on the line (against the Broncos and against the Packers).

Because of how the game ended last night, with the Cowboys QB — again –throwing an interception when the game was on the line, I wonder if there might be something else at play here. A couple of years ago, I wrote about some of the problems that the Vancouver Canucks goalie was having in the Stanley Cup Finals and how there might be something else that was affecting play. I wonder if that might be happening with the Dallas Cowboys’ QBs right now.

Part of the reason I talked about the success of Troy Aikman and the Cowboys during the ’90s is because I wonder if something changed — energetically speaking — with the “position” of the Cowboys QB. I know that this might sound strange, but it’s an option worth considering. Tony Romo has been one of the best QBs — statistically speaking — since he’s been in the NFL. He’s already thrown for 50 more TDs than Troy Aikman did in his career and Romo has played in 50+ less games. Romo currently has a 95.8 career passer rating. Currently, that ranks him 5th highest — all-time. Assuming Romo is able to recover from his injury, he’ll more than likely pass Troy Aikman on the all-time passing yards list, where Aikman currently ranks 30th. Tony Romo has been a fantastic QB for the Cowboys — statistically. However, when the game is on the line, things haven’t exactly gone his way. As a result, I’m lead to believe that, a) a sports psychologist is in order, and b) maybe there’s something energetically at play that’s affecting the organizational position of “Dallas Cowboys QB.” It might behoove Jerry Jones to call someone who can figure it out.

An Often Overlooked Component of Job Searching: Finding The Right Fit

When you’re out of work, finding a job can be tough. After you’ve mined your network, attended numerous job fairs, and applied to countless jobs online, there’s a good chance that you’re starting to lose hope. Well, I’m here to tell you, don’t. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope.

Believe it or not, finding a job is not just about you. It’s as much about the jobs that are available as the skills you have to offer. Meaning, you might have just the right skills to be a network developer for a technology company, but if the technology company that you’re looking at doesn’t have any openings, then you may begin to question your abilities and skills as a network developer. You may begin to think that you might not be as good at what you do as you thought you were. The key part of that equation is that the technology company that you’re targeting doesn’t have an opening… but another technology company might.

If you’d like a more concrete example, we can look to professional sports. Since I was born and raised in Toronto, I’m a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s currently the preseason, so there are more players “on the team” than there will be in a couple of weeks when the season starts. That is, there are a number of players who are still “trying out” for the team. One of the players who is currently trying out with the Maple Leafs is Mason Raymond, who played with the Vancouver Canucks for the last six seasons.

At the end of last season, the Canucks chose not to re-sign Raymond. As a result, Raymond was able to sign with any team. To start the preseason, Raymond decided to tryout for the Maple Leafs. Given his skill, he likely could have tried out for a number of different NHL teams, but he chose the Leafs. Now, some could point to the popularity of the Leafs as a reason that Raymond chose them, but others could point to the current roster for the Leafs. That is, on paper, Raymond certainly seems to fill a role that the Leafs don’t currently have. As a result, Raymond stands a good chance of making the team.

After the first few preseason games, it certainly seems that Raymond is well on his way to making the team, too. In fact, now there may be some concern among the management of the Leafs that Raymond might be signed away by another team (Raymond’s not technically under contract with the Leafs for the season — he’s just trying out).

My point in sharing this story about Mason Raymond is that when the Canucks decided not to re-sign Raymond at the end of last season, it may have been a rather sad day for him. He might have gotten down on himself and thought that his NHL career was over. A few months later and he’s playing great for the Leafs in the preseason, which will (likely) assure him an opportunity, if not on the Leafs, on some other team.

You may feel like you’re down and out right now (like Raymond might have felt after last season), so it’s important to remember: finding a job is as much about finding the right fit as it is about putting yourself out there.

UPDATE: When I wrote this last week, Mason Raymond was still on a tryout with the Maple Leafs. This past Monday, he signed a 1-year contract. It just goes to show how important finding the right fit can be.

Luongo and the Canucks Need Energetic Help!

I had the chance to watch the end of the Stanley Cup Playoffs . Vancouver won the first three games of the series and Chicago has won the most recent two. The coach of the Canucks pulled a bold move in benching his starting goaltender, , for game 6. It had seemed that the recent play of Luongo versus the Blackhawks in the last two games ( and ) where Luongo had let in 10 goals on 40 shots (for a save percentage of .750 over the two games) warranted a shake-up, in the coach’s mind. Typically, a good goalie will have a save percentage somewhere above .900 (meaning, the goalie will stop 9 pucks for every 10 shots he faces). Conversely, goalies who aren’t regarded so well, usually have save percentages that are below .900. Almost no starting goalies have save percentages below .850, much less .800!

Some fans have tried to draw meaning from patterns of Luongo’s play against the Blackhawks during other years of playoff games. For instance, last year, in the , Chicago was the team that knocked Vancouver out of the playoffs, winning 4 games out of the 6. In the final three losses of the series, Luongo allowed 16 goals (: 5 goals; : 6 goals; : 5 goals). His save percentage in those three games: .821.

In the , the Blackhawks, again, were the team that eliminated the Canucks from the playoffs, winning 4 games out of the 6. In , Luongo allowed 5 goals and in the game-deciding , Luongo allowed 7 goals. The evidence would lead one to believe that Luongo might have a tough time of it when the game is on the line, but I don’t think that’s the case.

In Luongo’s international play, he has , most recently during the that were held in Vancouver. Not only were the Olympics being held in Canada, they were being held in Luongo’s home building! This would also seem to negate the argument by some that Luongo has a hard go of things playing in his home building (looking at the stats, there seem to be more games where Luongo allows more goals when playing at home than playing on the road in the series against Chicago).

Luongo is not a ‘green’ or rookie goalie by any stretch of the imagination. He’s been around the block. In fact, he’s reached some pretty important milestones. Earlier this year, he became the . At the age of 32, he’s the 6th youngest goalie to reach 300 wins. In his NHL playing career, he’s never had a season with a save percentage below .900 and his career save percentage is .919, which puts him at . Some would argue that save percentage is a useless stat given that the career save percentage leaderboard is full of goalies playing in today’s modern hockey era. When looking at career leaders for (a system developed in an effort to more accurately measure a goalie’s performance), . When looking at the single season leaders for this same stat, (including the #1 single season).

So, to say that Luongo is not a good goalie would be a fallacy in the largest way. There has to be something else at play here. You can’t even really say that Luongo doesn’t perform when the game is on the line. In probably the , against the United States in the Gold Medal Game, in Canada, in his home arena, being watched by over two-thirds of the country — — that’s a big-time game. If he was going to crumble under pressure, it would have been there (he allowed 2 goals on 36 shots, save percentage = .944).

There really must be some other reason that Luongo can’t seem to exercise his “ghosts” with regard to playing against the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I haven’t watched all of these games (either this season or the last two seasons), so I can’t really say whether or not Luongo is being supported by his defense or if he’s just letting in what some would call “easy” goals. From just collecting some data for this post, it is clear to me that something else is at play.

There has to be some sort of energetic dissonance. Let me explain a little more. A few months ago, I wrote a post that briefly touched on and how there may be beliefs at play that affect the way players perform. Additionally, I pointed to the idea that there could also be a need for some work to be done on the energetic relationship of a team. There could be dissonance on an energetic level that requires work (just like when there are psychological issues you see a therapist). However, these energetic relationships are sometimes harder to see (with the naked eye). They need to be — for lack of a better word — intuited.

between the Canucks and Blackhawks is Tuesday night in Vancouver. I have no idea how well Luongo (or the Canucks) will play. If Luongo and/or the Canucks enlist the services of someone capable of effecting change on an energetic level, I have no doubt that the Canucks will win the game (as they have seemed to have been then better team all year — for the best record in the NHL). If the team fails to recognize that there is an energetic dissonance, it is quite possible that the Blackhawks send the Canucks to early “tee-times” for the third straight year.