This was a game for Mekkar to test how much he had developed his hockey acumen and skill set. It was hard to judge without considering his injury against him. It was also a barometer of the work that still needed to be done for him to reach a reasonable professional level. The gap between the two degrees was still evident and obvious, even to Mekkar himself.
He had to show his stuff even though by this matchup in
Buffalo the teenager had
his playing minutes greatly reduced to hopefully further the healing of his
badly broken hand. It had not gotten any better by this point due to the fact
of his not taking time off from missing matches on this tour. Mekkar was too
stubborn for that and only watching the matches as a scratched Black Ace would
drastically increase his growing frustration levels. The damage incurred to his
right paw and wrist also affected the roll over and snap of the wrist required
for different and effective passes to teammates or shots on net. Since, Mekkar
did not possess a howitzer slap shot from the point anyway.
The lower extended extremity meant the loss of power and control in all things related to handling of the hard rubber flying disc. This placed an adaptation of more emphasis on the top hand on his stick that can guide direction of passes to open fellow members of his team. Mekkar distinguished that due to the upper body issue it was still more important to put the biscuit in the basket or at least directly on net. That way to also create any rebound opportunities for his club to score more scrappy goals.
Not counting the matter regarding a few assumptions on behalf of the Selects coaching staff about their opponent this evening, the Buffalo Sabres. The viewpoint was despite the slightly small non-regular sized rink dimensions the Sabres wouldn’t play a goon it up style. The fear was that
Buffalo might light-up
the Selects on the scoreboard instead. The Sabres first forward line made them
an offensive juggernaut led by the dynamic French Connection Line of Gilbert
Perreault, Rene Robert, and Rick Martin. In addition, they had good goaltending
The matchup was expected to be similar to the Kings who the Selects already faced off against. However, it was predicted there would not be a repeat of the pugilistic affair like the one in
Los Angeles. This would be highly beneficial
for Mekkar in that he could take a break and hold back from having to punch any
rival combatants in the noggin during
on-ice tangos. Then, he recalled that is also what the Selects’ team staff said prior to the match in
Southern California and look how that
episode turned out.
Some of Mekkar’s buddies on the squad agreed with him on his cautious assessment regarding this match against the Sabres. Mekkar asked the question, “Could we fall for the club management intelligence again and trust in their judgment one more time regarding this?” Nevertheless, cultural factors and influences took precedence over their emotions and were applied to not challenge or ruffle the feathers of the Selects coaches. Mekkar was at the forefront of non-acceptance of the authoritative opinion regarding them team’s next opponent. It is because those in coaching positions have the power to ultimately mete out individual playing time and discipline toward each athlete.
There is always a fear of being known as a person with a reputation of rocking the (team) boat. This is seen as very detrimental in hockey, sports, and business circles and can affect one’s career especially at the higher levels. In many cases, the temperament does not match the individual athlete’s talent level and might not be deserved but just perceived. There is also the tendency, where Mekkar is originally from, to avoid most confrontational situations especially involving authority figures. Staying away from all the drama that usually goes with a prickly personality is the road taken by most people as a matter of self preservation.
Yet, Mekkar was pretty much unlike anyone else and didn’t care what others thought of him. Definitely those creatures in authoritative positions, even ones placed above him. His typical attitude did not follow the accepted norms of most civilized societies nor in his own native environment for that matter. This part of Mekkar’s psyche steadily grew stronger as he reached maturity as a fully developed adult.
Anyway, in spite of Mekkar’s insolence and a position of relative non-conformance he seemed to commonly make it through with minimal setbacks. That was not the reality for the Selects on this night as
Connection top line ripped Mekkar’s team apart in an 8-3 Sabre victory.