Today was my first day back at work surrounded by the lovely leaders of tomorrow, so this is why this week's is a bit late - I'm still recovering from the shell shock that they're going to run America one day.
But how they act, coupled with what was said about Murray - and what Andy Murray said regarding them - got me thinking. How much, exactly, does maturity have to do with ability to play? Not physical maturity, but mental maturity as a person. Does not having that fully formed frontal lobe (the decision making/impulse control region of the brain) impact how they act so much that it makes them difficult to coach or difficult to direct? And, does how you handle that - with understanding, an iron fist, or hovering micromanagement, well... does that have more to do with the on-ice project than anything else?
After the firing of Andy Murray, the locker room interviews of the players began. All of them had very kind words to say regarding Murray as a person. Quite a few of them, mostly vets who know what they "should" say to the media gave canned responses that directed the blame to the team and away from Murray, to spare him any further issues in the press. Brewer was particularly stoic and flat, shockingly enough.
The kids, though, well - kids today. It's not that they have no tact, because about 12 of them do (one of them I think might be Erik Johnson), but they're just so much more prone to say the first truthful thing that comes to mind when asked about issues - and they did. Janssen mentioned no one knew where they stood. Oshie said that practices were looser and more up-tempo; more fun. The general consensus from the 25 and under crowd was that Murray was a good guy, but that they just weren't able to go out and improvise and play their style.
There's nothing wrong with saying that. It's not like they pointed the finger of blame at him, or called him an awful coach. They just had questions. We all question why our boss does what they do, or at least assume (if you have a good one) that they're doing things for the good of the company, regardless of the method. That's how the kids obviously viewed Murray. But they still realized things weren't quite working right, and when asked their opinion, well - out it came. They didn't think about what they said 100%... because they're kids.
Murray asserted after that interview (and apparently this was on the radio, I can't find anything about it in print, and I'm getting info here and there on Twitter, so sorry if the details are wrong) that really the situation was the kids' fault - they didn't focus, didn't care - were more interested in going home and playing XBox, goofing off, or going over and having fun on the East Side after games (Sean mentioned something about that before, if I remember correctly). Murray felt that they weren't showing focus.
He was right, they probably weren't. Why do kids drink and drive? What's up with the stupid risky behavior (sexual and otherwise) of youth? It's just how they're wired. It mostly isn't intentional. Those of you with teenagers - has your kid ever done something stupid, and you asked why? Was their response: "I dunno"? They're not making an excuse. It's the truth. There's even an outstanding Frontline special on the whole thing (Caution - you'll want to throw something at the computer when you see the first kid - even my students hate him).
Murray coming out and seeming to retaliate against the players' comments by flinging dirty laundry and blame is petty, and it shows a lack of understanding behind what the kids meant with what they said. Janssen apologized even though he wasn't in the wrong to diffuse the problem. That showed more maturity and a better understanding of the situation than Murray mustered up.
In case you're wondering where the hell this came from, I'm back to teaching AP Psychology this semester, and I just watched all 22 second season episodes of Buffy on Hulu this weekend. I now consider myself an expert on the teenage noggin.