If we're going to change the game it has to start at eight, nine and 10 years old. When we were that age we'd go to the pond or backyard rink and throw a puck on the ice and play five on five, or seven on seven. You get this creativity and this imagination that comes from within, just having fun on the pond. Now kids are so focused on team play, and the coaches are so focused on positioning. You can't change it at the NHL level.
I played everything. I played lacrosse, baseball, hockey, soccer, track and field. I was a big believer that you played hockey in the winter and when the season was over you hung up your skates and you played something else.
Thankfully, in my youth I had the best financial advisor a son could ask for: my dad Walter. When I got that first signing bonus in 1978, Dad took my cheque, announced, 'This is what we're going to do,' and bought an annuity with it.
As a player, you have one responsibility, to focus yourself and be ready for the game. As a coach, your responsibility is to get 20 guys ready and have them all on the same page. If you can't get every guy ready every night, you're going to struggle.
What you want to do with your best players is, it doesn't matter how many goals and assists they get, but when they get goals and assists. The best players get them at the most important times, and that's when we need those guys to come through.
My best friend had a hockey scholarship at Ohio State, so I would get a couple of pairs at the beginning of the season and send them down to him. They practised two hours a day. He'd skate in them for three weeks then ship them back.