Let’s begin by recalling a comment Murray made a few weeks ago regarding Loktionov and Voynov.

“I’m not going to motivate them,”…

….”Pro players have to motivate themselves, that’s your job as a player – is to get yourself ready to play hockey.”

OK, fair enough. That’s one way of ‘coaching’. But then what the hell does this mean?

“I don’t want to ease him back in. If he’s going to get in, he’s got to play. He’s been out, he’s been doing all of the skating and all of the drills that the extra players do, who are not in the lineup, and he’s got the green light, emotionally and mentally, to go out and play and he’s got to give us everything. Do things right, do things hard.’’

Murray said that today regarding Penner’s return to the lineup. Let’s focus in on the bold (seeing as that’s why I put the emphasis there).

Who exactly is giving Penner this emotional and mental green light? Have you ever heard of such a phrase. Was Penner seeing a therapist as well as a physician? Perhaps there is more to Penner’s little finger injury than anyone wanted to let on. Maybe Murray just doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about, making shit up as he goes along and this means nothing because Murray is paid to coach hockey, not to know what words mean when strung together in specific ways. I find it very strange to specify that the kind of green light Penner has been given is mental and emotional. Aside from that being weird on its own, does this not fly directly of the face of the assertion that “pro players have to motivate themselves”? If that is true, then this green light of emotions business makes even less sense.

If, for fun, we want to take this to its literal extreme, giving someone a mental and emotional green light could mean that they have been held back mentally and emotionally. You only give a player a green light for physical contact because up until that point you have said to that player ‘no physical contact for you’. So am I to now assume that up until today the message to Penner has been ‘don’t use your head and your feelings are stupid’? That’s kind of a funny thought, that maybe up until now Murray has been bad mouthing Penner. Could you imagine, Mr. Soft-spoken teacher coach who never yells, skating by Penner during practice and in true Reggie Dunlop fashion whispering into his ear as he flies by ‘You’re fat and no one likes you’. Ah hell, let’s just go there, I want you to picture Murray saying to Penner as he comes off the bench ‘Hey Pens, your wife sucks pussy‘.

But thank god that’s over, because now Penner has the emotional and mental green light to try hard.

This very well could be yet another case of me picking something apart to a tortured extreme, but I just can’t get over those two words, emotionally and mentally. At the very least, this has to be an admission of Penner’s problems being in his head, an odd way of calling the guy out to pick up his play. We knew all this about Penner, but does anyone else have that little conspiracy bell ringing softly in the back of their heads? The one that is saying ‘Penner wasn’t really hurt… He was too mentally and emotionally fucked up from sucking to play hockey’. Hey, there’s a reason I don’t listen to that schmuck and his soft grating voice that sounds so much like my own.

What do you make of this? Am I reading into nothing here?