"But without such time a player is like a student cramming for exams. His skills are like answers memorized by his body, specific, limited to what is expected, random and separate, with no overviews to organize and bring them together. And for those times when more is demanded, when new unexpected circumstances come up, when answers are asked for things you've never learned, when you must intuit and piece together what you already know to find new answers, memorizing isn't enough. It's the difference between knowledge and understanding, between a super-achiever and a wise old man. And it's the difference between a modern suburban player and a player like Lafleur.
"For a special player has spent time with his game. On backyard rinks, in local arenas, in time alone and with others, time without short-cuts, he has seen many things, he has done many things, he has experienced the game. He understands it. There is scope and culture in his game. He is not a born player. What he has is not a gift, random and otherworldly, and unearned. There is surely something in his genetic make-up that allows him to be great, but just as surely there are others like him who fall short. He is, instead, a natural."
--Ken Dryden, The Game
I tell you, when I started reading this book, all the quotations on the jacket about how it was the best hockey book ever were a bit off-putting, and I started making snide remarks about it curing scrofula. But I am won over. If you have the king's evil, it might be worth a try to order this book, at least if you have the king's evil and like hockey.