Custom Search

Twelve things virtually all players and coaches say after a loss

We all know that we live in a sports world of clichés. I’ve worked on the media “side” of things and more recently have, for many years, worked with athletes as a communications advisor, so it’s a Catch 22-situation I understand pretty well.

Reporters ridicule athletes when they are bland and have nothing to say, or just parrot worn-out clichés.

For their part, athletes are generally afraid to say anything out of the ordinary, for fear they will end up isolated and ostracized in some fashion for straying “off message”.

God forbid they say anything out of the ordinary. The same reporters who mock athletes for saying nothing will jump on a soapbox and take the athlete down as many pegs as they can for daring to say something that is not politically acceptable.

But all this can be a discussion for another day. As this is intended to be a fun web site, let’s look at twelve things NHL players and/or coaches are apt to say after any given loss. This post was triggered watching Leaf coach Ron Wilson recently, but this is not about Ron—it’s really about just about anyone who plays or coaches in the NHL.

Sometimes, there really is only so much a player or coach can say to the media after their team loses. The answers all sound the same.

Here are some examples. Send along any obvious ones I’ve missed:

1. "We have to get traffic in front of the net. NHL goalies stop what they can see."

2. "I don’t know what’s wrong with our power play. We’re not moving the puck. We’re standing still."

3. "The effort tonight was unacceptable."

4. "We’re struggling on the PK. We’re chasing the puck and not getting in the shooting lanes."

5. "We played 20 minutes of hockey, but it’s a 60 minute game."

6. "We didn’t pressure the puck. There were too many passengers tonight."

7. "We stopped doing the things that got us the lead. We sat back. I don’t know why."

8. "You saw the game. Write what you saw."

9. "They won the battles along the boards."

10. "We came out flat. We just didn’t show up tonight. There’s no excuse."

11. "We had no energy."

12. "We have to put this behind us. We just have to re-group and focus on giving a hundred per cent."

Not many coaches have a sense of humor in defeat like Harry Neale did, in his last coaching gig with the Red Wings. I don’t remember his quote exactly, but after yet another Wing loss, he basically said, “We struggle at home. We can’t win on the road. Our problem is finding a place to play.”


  1. You forgot the most obvious one:

    "We just have to find ways to win hockey games."

  2. One of his most famous quotes came when he was coaching the Canucks during the 1981–82 season, when he quipped, "Last season we couldn't win at home. This season we can't win on the road. My failure as a coach is I can't think of any place else to play."