Much like anybody who goes to Winnipeg in November, the Canucks felt it necessary to have a word with themselves after Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Jets. (The abysmal road trip that had its grand finale there, with the club's worst loss of the season, might have also had something to do with it.)
This little tidbit comes to us courtesy of head coach Willie Desjardins, who mentioned the team chat during a TSN 1040 interview, upon being asked if he felt his players were emotionally fragile right now.
"No, I don't," he said. "The players had a bit of a meeting after I left the dressing room after the game in Winnipeg, and I think they all know that we're not a long ways away. We're close, but close doesn't get you many points. They know that we have to find a way."
Boom. Would emotionally fragile players have a meeting? Riddle me that.
I like the way he phrased it: a bit of a meeting. Just a smattering of meeting. A skosh of meeting. A li'l baby meeting.
But I doubt the primary talking point after this disclosure will be how much meeting counts as "a bit of a meeting", and how much you need to reach "a whole buttload of meeting". Not when the coach just alluded to a meeting from which he was excluded. Heavens! Players-only?! That's coachism! Is there discord in the Canucks' locker room? Have the players turned on their bench boss?!
Probably not. But we do love to make a mountain out of a bit of a meeting in the hockey community. Remember last year, when reports surfaced that the Los Angeles Kings players had barred Darryl Sutter from a meeting in February? We wondered: has he lost the room?! Nah. He'd just been briefly locked out of it. And the meeting amounted to nothing. The Kings didn't turn things around. They still missed the playoffs. And Sutter wasn't canned. It turned out to be little more than one of hockey's infinite Bonnie Raitt moments -- just something to talk about. (Next time, fellas, how about love?)
Player meetings happen all the time. In fact, they're so common in Vancouver, Jason Botchford once wrote, "a Canucks season never officially starts until the first players-only meeting."
Sometimes they go nowhere, and another needs to be called in a few weeks.
Other times they seem to have some impact, like in the 2010-11 season. The Canucks were tortured 7-1 in November 2010 by the Hawks.
What followed was a players-only meeting, some moments of self-reflection and the coming together of 23 men, give or take, making it a memorable, if convenient, turning point.
A memorable, if convenient, turning point. I like that. And that's what this meeting could be, if the Canucks manage to find success in its wake. Otherwise it's just a regular meeting.