NHL Network Radio’s Rob Simpson on the Chemistry Equation with Jim Nill

Dallas Stars

Jim Nill, General Manager of the Dallas Stars presents Kari Lehtonen #32 with a silver stick commemorating Lehtonen's 500th career game prior to face off against the Nashville Predators at the American Airlines Center on April 11, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.

Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

I’ve harped on the three C’s before: Chemistry, character and commitment. They go hand in hand and when combined with another good C, coaching, you get two more C’s on top of those; collective confidence. See how that works? Good coaching and chemistry lead to the Big M, no, not Frank Mahovlich, but momentum. When a team’s identity has soul, it has success.

Ok, enough abstract thought, I’ll let Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill back me up. From the “Stellick and Simmer” show the week of February 13th, Nill supported the concept of strong chemistry leading to winning pucks. He also concurred that the presence of a “donkey” (my word) or just one selfish distraction can upset the entire apple cart.

“It’s the one thing maybe fans out there don’t understand or can’t see,” Nill said. “There might be a move that’s made and everyone is saying, ‘well why would they do that?’ A lot of times it may be because of that situation. In the end your dressing room is very important.”

I know of a team that literally conquered a championship because one of those selfish distractions was absent. He wasn’t traded, he was somewhat untradeable, but he was injured, out of the day-to-day scene, and without him the team flourished. With him, members of the club intimated later, they never would have reached their goal. That’s where hockey separates itself from other sports. Ultimately the firehouse mentality means everyone has to be climbing up the same ladder.

“You’re gonna go through good times, you’re gonna go through bad times, and it’s in those bad times you want to make sure you have the right people in place,” Nill pointed out. “Some people can handle it, some can’t, and to be successful, you look at all of these Stanley Cup championship teams, their dressing rooms were solid, had the right people in place.”

Ironically, I’m pretty sure (me talking again) the Stars have a problem in their dressing room, but at this juncture I’m not pointing the finger.

“The coaches can only do so much, the managers can only do so much, in the end it’s the guys in the dressing room to get the train back on the tracks. That’s one of the hardest things to find and judge,” Nill said. “It’s a fine line but a very important final piece.”

Whether he’s aware of a potential chemistry issue with his club, or not, Nill was generous in addressing this issue in the general sense, mainly because he’s a great guy giving an honest answer to a hockey topic. For his sake I hope I’m wrong about the dressing room. I don’t I am.

Regardless, crunch all the numbers you want, no one will be winning the Cup without the essential C’s.

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