1. If you present a convincing excuse - or even a not-so-convincing one - uncertain athletes will grab on to it with enthusiasm.
That's sure the way it seems to be with the Raptors. They've been told so often and by so many people that they're too young for the playoffs, they're playing as though they believe that themselves these days. Every Raptor playing is offering that line up after four straight mediocre to dismal performancea against the very average Nets.
But while inexperience might result in mistakes or over-aggressive play, the kind of lazy defensive effort and absence of grittiness that especially seemed present in Sunday's embarassment seem more the result of a team that's been told not to expect to win and now believes it.
2. Its the last chance for Randy Moss in New England, at least the last chance for him to prove he's not only about individual success.
Its similar to, if not exactly the same, as the type of trade that landed Todd Bertuzzi in Detroit. Both the Patriots and Red Wings are recent champions with a stromg infrastructure of veteran, team-oriented players. Peer pressure works a lot better than yelling by a coach.
If Moss can't make it in New England, or if Bertuzzi fails in Motown, they can't make it anywhere.
3. There's a lot of talk about revolutionizing overtime in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Well, they've already done it.
Remember those bad old days when nothing short of a weapons charge would merit a minor penalty in the post-season?
It was a "let the players decide it" philosophy that turned playoff OT games into an utter joke.
Now, the game is basically being called the same way in the first period as the third, and the same in OT as well.
Doesn't this make a lot more sense to everybody?
It sure makes for better entertainment, as the Sabres and Rangers proved on Sunday.
Moreover, the players are accepting the change, once again demonstrating the way to "police" the sport is with reule enforcement, not to ask the players to take on that responsibility as well.