Those who have played sports involving extensive travel or simply a locker room may appreciate this more than others, but often you will hear the phrase "In The Room" when describing the chemistry of a hockey team.
Some athletes can sense when a team is tight and create levity to loosen the mood and reduce stress levels. Others are more prone to speak up when a team needs a kick in the ass. The truly special leaders will know how to do so on an individual basis. Some players need to be yelled at. They need to even be threatened at times. Others simply need to be embarrassed to motivate them to perform better.
When moves are made in the NHL we often simply look at the player we know from watching on our TV or up in nosebleeds. We take a look at stats and reputation then cast judgment on what team was the victor. What we are not always privileged to know is dynamics that go on behind the scenes. Some players have been traded out of this town because of who they are dating or should I say whose daughter they are dating. Chris Carter was let go by Buddy Ryan. Buddy never admitted that Carter had issues or troubles with dependency. Carter then went on to have a hall of fame carrier in Minnesota. The point is we never really know the real reason by some moves, but in the NHL the locker room has motivated many a move.
Conversely, Keith Premieu knew when to lower the boom when Coach Hitchcock’s message was not getting through. It's safe to say losing him in the room contributed to Hitch's demise in Philadelphia.
Mike Richards could have learned a thing or two from number 25.
The addition of Mike Knuble reeks of a move motivated as much by his contributions off the ice as it does in front of opposing goaltenders. Looking at Paul Holmgren’s moves of late I think a trend is noticeable. The Flyer's just never seemed to believe in JVR. His ego or simply the way in which he carried himself just seemed to rub them the wrong way. Sure enough off he went for Luke Schenn, who at worst is Jason Smith and at best is Scott Stevens. Most importantly he is a warrior and is a team player. The addition of Bruno Gervais also continues the trend considering his relationship with Talbot. Michael Leighton is content to be a backup and has been the consummate team player for the orange and black. Now Knuble. I wonder if Paul Holmgren has altered his path a bit and paying more attention to "The Room" than in years past.
This may not bode well for the prospect of adding PK Subban or other high profile players, but the sum of the Flyers parts may just be better continuing this strategy in the future.