When a team is mired in the lengthy losing streak that Colorado has endured to begin 2019, it’s hard not to think of how big of a hole is being dug and the fading hope of digging out of it. However, since Head Coach Conor Casey took over in the interim, the Rapids have pulled themselves back into striking distance of the teams battling for the lower playoff seeds in the Western Conference with a four-match unbeaten streak going into Saturday’s home contest against Minnesota.
By not looking at the deficit they found themselves in, Casey has the Rapids players focusing on smaller steps directly in front of them in order to make the strides they’ve seen in the last two weeks.
“At first it’s a relief and now it’s our energy source,” Casey told The Voice of C38 reflecting on the recent successes both home and away. “We all realize how quickly things change in this league and we’re only focused on keep hammering away, and it’s going to sound boring as long as I’m here, but we’re only talking about processes and what we’re doing each day. We’re only looking forward, we only have one game to play, and it has to be our mindset if we’re going to continue to get points.”
Casey and the Rapids staff have not been averse to rotating their lineups, placing younger players like Andre Shinyashiki, Cole Bassett, and Sebastian Anderson into the mix amongst them, and allowing them to come together as a group. “I think they listen to me, but more importantly they’re listening to each other, and that’s the part that is the strongest thing,” says Casey reflecting on matches as well as training days during the week.
“They’re communicating on the field, they’re taking responsibility, they’re communicating to each other – ‘no, you have to do this’., and the coach doesn’t have to do that all the time. The players are out on the field. We set up trainings so that they are in the situations to solve problems and they’re solving problems and that’s what I want.”
Casey was known as a hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone, focused goal scorer during his playing days. Now, he’s asking his players to put in the same attitude each day in training leading to more positive results. “It’s only about the work we put in each day, so if you do that correctly then you’re going to have a chance to set yourself up to win at the weekend. If you’re thinking about other things then you’re not. I want us only focusing on our jobs.”