Updated: Sep 16, 2022
When you walk into a dressing room after a win, the music is playing, and there's plenty of laughter. Star players are being interviewed while others do their utmost to distract them with hijinx.
After a loss, the room is deathly quiet. The players who agree to be interviewed speak in such hushed tones that the interviewer often doesn't have a clue what they're saying. In the early days, that period of quiet would carry over to the bus ride to the hotel or airport. The post-game pout was mandatory. A period of supposed self-loathing when if anyone dared speak aloud, a glare or an expletive-filled tirade would come from the coach or General Manager riding in the front seat.
On New Year's Eve 1979, the first-year Jets had just lost a close game to a pretty good team in Buffalo. The Jets had played well. On the ride to Toronto after the game, a chorus was struck up on the back of the bus. Players began to join in; it was Auld Lang Syne. It seemed so refreshing. At least until the sound carried to the front of the bus and the baritone voice of coach Tom McVie growled, "Shut up, you don't sing when you lose!" Welcome to 1980.
In later years the post-game pout hasn't been as prevalent. Players and sometimes ever coaches don't take every loss like a death in the family. I'm not sure why, although it could have something to do with cell phones. A lot of players like to call home after a game, and it’s tough speaking quietly when on a bus and calling Russia. Oleg Tverdovsky’s dad must have been near deaf.