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Calgary Flames hire a 'mental development coach'

Jul 30, 2010, 10:00 PM EST

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Thumbnail image for Sutter.jpgYogi Berra, New York Yankees legend and expert butcher of cliches, once said that baseball is “Ninety percent physical and the other half is mental.”

It appears that Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter – or someone within the Flames organization – took that dictum to heart and wants the team to give 180 percent. Steve Ovadia of Puck Update reveals that the team hired a “mental development coach” named Dave Paskevich. Ovadia explains a little bit more about the situation and why the Flames would make such a move.

I’m not sure if this was Darryl Sutter’s call, or if it was made for Sutter, but it indicates that someone in the organization thinks that the Calgary flaws aren’t necessarily talent-related.

Earlier this month, I suggested Sutter was revisiting some of his less successful signings to prove they were actually strong signings that didn’t execute properly.

If Sutter is behind the Paskevich hiring, that could indicate he thinks the problems with Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay were mental. And solvable.

If it wasn’t Sutter’s call, it still indicates a faith in Sutter’s moves. Someone believes the Flames are a good team that just needs to get out of its own collective head.

If you’re like me, you cannot help but picture Robin Williams in his “Good Will Hunting” role, holding a sobbing Jay Bouwmeester as he repeats “It’s not your fault.”

All joking aside, the Flames could use all the help they can get. To say that I’m skeptical about their off-season moves is an understatement, but it’s always interesting to see teams go off the beaten path to try to improve their chances. Ovadia notes that the Senators, Canucks, Blackhawks and Maple Leafs employed someone in a similar position, so perhaps NHL teams are starting to come around to the process. Considering all the heart and courage required in this sport, it makes sense that teams are respecting the power of modern psychology.

We’ll see if it yields any results on the ice, though.

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