I recall hearing Craig MacTavish talking about a conversation he had with Marc Pouliot a few years ago. It was an exit interview (if I remember correctly) and the coach mentioned that the young Oiler prospect might have a future as a Guy Carbonneau-type. A gritty, defense first penalty-killer who could be a demon on the forecheck, win faceoffs and earn a terrific living in the world’s best hockey league.
Pouliot balked at the suggestion.
Jim Matheson’s article on Andrew Cogliano strikes a similar chord, with the story being a young player hesitant to learn the finer points of the position. If I’m reading Cogliano correctly, he feels that he’ll start learning his position once he fails as a scorer.
It doesn’t sound like much of a plan to me. I think the problems faced by Pouliot and Cogliano are–at least partly–self inflicted. Hard to blame a coach when the pupils aren’t interested in the lessons. “Maybe when I’m older, if my career doesn’t take the path I want it to take,” says Cogliano.
I’m hoping he sees the signs.