For example, let's take a look at someone playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs right now. This particular player was playing college hockey in the Frozen Four just a few weeks ago, where he helped his Boston College Eagles hockey club to a NCAA Division I National Championship.
A few short weeks later, he was on NHL Ice at Scotiabank Place suiting up for the New York Rangers to take on the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of the first round of the postseason. A couple of days after that, he scored his first NHL goal, a game winning goal in Game 6 to help the Rangers get the series to 7 games.
By now, you more than likely know that this particular play is 21-year-old Chris Kreider and the month of April was quite a crazy one for someone that had never played in the NHL before. When he first joined the Rangers' roster, he already knew what he had to do to get playing time from team head coach John Tortorella.
"They definitely sent the message that if you want to play you’re going to have to prove that you’re ready to play," said Kreider, who admitted that he hasn’t had much time to talk to Tortorella or the coaching staff. “You’re going to have to earn you ice time, which is the way it should be."
Since saying that, Kreider has more than earned his ice time. He has done so by playing "Ranger hockey", which is all about playing responsibly, being in the right position to make plays or break-up plays and being unselfish.
In his first seven games in the NHL, Kreider has 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points. While that is not exactly lighting it up, it should be noted that both goals were game-winning goals for his hockey club and his lone assist was on a great insurance marker in Game 1 of the second round by Brad Richards against the Washington Capitals.
Not only has the youngster been producing in crucial situations for his hockey team, but he has also been defensively responsible. He has forced several turnovers, has been in the right position to breakup passes and has completely dedicated himself to the Rangers' style of play.
Luckily for the Rangers, they do not have to worry if Kreider is getting overconfident due to his terrific start in professional hockey.
"I'm kind of at a loss for words," Kreider said. "I'm just trying to keep my head down and work hard. Whether or not the puck goes in, I'm just trying to play the same role I play every night and be consistent and be defensively reliable."
With plenty of playoff hockey left, Kreider will certainly continue to be given ample ice time from Tortorella if he continues to play the way he is playing right now.
“He has no fear, that’s what I like about him. His biggest thing is his mindset. He’s not here to test the waters, he’s trying to . You saw where I had him at the end of the game. He deserved to be there,” Tortorella revealed.
Hopefully for the Rangers, this is only the beginning of what should be a great career in Ranger blue for Kreider.