Ducks GM Michael Stafford, in a rare locker room appearance, slammed his team after 7-3 drubbing at the hands of the Boston Bruins.
Michael Stafford felt the Boston Bruins humiliated his team. After what he called "the worst period of play" in which Boston scored four unanswered goals, Stafford started with something everyone in the locker room already knew.
“When the 2021 NHL Playoffs start next week the Anaheim Ducks will not be take part. There is a lot to digest from this season which we will dig into throughout this summer.”
The Ducks do have a leadership problem on and off the ice and those issues will be addressed soon after the playoffs are over, but Stafford did not direct his comments in that direction. Instead, he looked directly into the eyes of each player and took them back in time when they first learned to skate love the game of hockey.
“Did you ever dream of being a legend in your sport? Maybe you wanted to be the next Bobby Hull or the new Wayne Gretzky. Well, if you can dream it, you can do it. The reason you know the names of players like Hull and Gretzky is because they never quit trying to achieve their goals like you did tonight.”
Stafford looked around the room and demanded attention.
“Hull and Gretzky might be amongst the greatest athletes in hockey but at one time they were humble beginners. They may have had all the talent in the world, yet they were no better than you at the start. Every legendary player had to train and learn how to play. Do not listen to that voice that tells you that you are not good enough or it cannot be done.
"When you train with purpose, know that you are in the company of the greatest people to ever grace your game. Use it as fuel so that you can go from rocking your workouts to rocking the entire world by becoming an icon."
Stafford then walked through the wall of players and stopped at his future star Sam Poulin. This simple gesture gave the impression that the Ducks will clean house if necessary and turn to their youth.
“Goals don’t need to be reached, only aimed for, a very wise person once said. A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at. Just by pursuing the objective, it can lead you to success in ways you never imagined.
"Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, had his dreams shattered. He was cut from the U.S. hockey team a week before they went to the 1960 Olympics. This setback brought him to coaching, where he led his players to the greatest win in sports history.
"You might not catch the dream you chase but it will somehow lead you to greatness. Only by going down that road, can you become a legend."
Then Stafford walked to Maxim Letunov, another potential star.
“Training never goes to waste. No matter if you do not reach your dream, your training will never go to waste. Regular exercise gives you a vast number of benefits you need during the long regular season.”
Stafford then pointed around the room and raised his voice to the veteran players.
“Don’t get discouraged. The road to your dreams is full of bumps and bad days. That is a plain and simple fact. But it doesn’t mean that you should quit and embarrass yourselves and your team.”
He continued by saying, “In life, the only thing that is worse than failure is regret. You might think your dream is impossible now but if you do not go for it, you will never forgive yourself. And neither will your teammates or fans.”
Before storming out of the locker room Stafford challenged his team.
“Now, the Duck family is officially challenging all of you. We want you to chase your dream, letting nothing stop you Train hard and pursue your goals. You might not reach them, but the effort alone will make you believe in yourselves for future seasons.”