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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Conor's Consternation by @AlfaM1keFoxtrot

I'd put money down on the fact that whatever physical ailment might be affecting Conor Sheary right now isn't nearly the struggle for him that his own focus and anxiety is.



Athletes and sports writers sometimes talk about "the moment" during competition. And, if you ever played a sport competitively you may have had a few. They are snapshots of time where one's movements almost seem preplanned, time seems to slow down, and one's demeanor is calm and focused.

Unfortunately the opposite is a world where time actually speeds up during big moments. Where one's actions are constantly driven by the desire not to make a mistake and awareness tunnels to a point of anxiousness.

I believe this is the place where Sheary is right now. His coaches sentiments yesterday only underlined it for me.


And the demeanor now is evidence of this:

https://www.nhl.com/penguins/video/off-day-sheary-052217/t-277437428/c-52026603?partnerId=pit-twt-penguins

However, in my opinion, one could already hear the dissatisfaction with himself even after a 7-1 win back in January.

https://www.nhl.com/penguins/video/postgame-conor-sheary-012017/t-277437428/c-48594803?q=Sheary

The fact that he still seems so sullen speaks to a very self critical, prideful person who wants to succeed.

It's understandable though, Sheary isn't even 25 yet. So, the old opinion that "He's professional athlete getting paid to play a sport" and "He should suck it up and focus." seems a bit naïve. And, for those who don't think so, let me ask:

1.) What were you accomplishing career wise at age 24?

2.) If by chance you were at the highest level of your craft, how mentally even keel were you?


So, injury or not, it would be foolish to assume there probably isn't a degree of subconscious pressure on the guy. Especially when considering the two obvious things bracketing the playoff run the team is in RIGHT NOW:


1.) Desire to produce at the rate he was during the regular season and last year's playoff run.

2.) His upcoming RFA status and the inevitable new contract he hopes to sign.


The first issue is simply expectation based and any successful human develops expectations of themselves based on prior accomplishments. Our consistency in creating new instances of success often affects much of our own self worth.

The second issue though is much more tangible. Sheary could publicly say "I'll let my agent handle that" or " "I'm not even thinking about that right now" But let's consider what salary realm he was in by end of season.

With 53 points in 61 games played this past season the comparable players for Sheary based on similar position, size, age, and production aren't middle of the pack forwards.

Marchand = 6.125 mil (new contract will kick in next year)

Skinner = 5.725 mil

Gaudreau = 6.725 mil


Yea.......not exactly "role player" company.

One has to think that for an undersized guy that was undrafted and found a fit next to the best player in the world, this next contract is a HUGE deal to him.

It's hard for any of us to say "this" is what he needs to do considering few if any have played a sport at the highest level as well as being a big point producer.

That being said though, Sheary's next contract will be signed this summer whether he starts finding the back of the net or not. And the organization isn't just going to forget about those 53 points this year and last year's playoff run.

So, in my opinion the best thing for him to do is embrace the fact that he has a chance to potentially help the team get to and win another championship. It doesn't happen every year, so as his head coach says...... "just play".




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