Mark Osiecki saw the good, bad and the ugly from his recent trip to Ufa, Russia, for the World Junior Championships.
The good, obviously, is how the U.S. squad for whom he was an assistant coach, got better as the tournament advanced and won the gold medal with win against Sweden on Saturday to claim the title as the best Under-20 team in the word.
"It was an incredible feeling," he said. "I wish there wasn't such a huge time difference. It would have been great to see more people understand the great level of competition and the players involved."
The bad might have been the conditions in the city - aside from the sparkling two rinks for the tournament - with scarce good food, crowded streets and shops, traffic with no discernible pattern and seemingly perpetual darkness with only about five hours of daylight.
Then there was the ugly. Security forces were everywhere, especially around the Americans, who had to go through six levels of armed personnel just to get in and out of the hotel.
Osiecki said he felt safe but noted the front window of the hotel was shattered by a bullet, prompting a brief lockdown.
So, what does this have to do with his job as head coach of the Ohio State men's hockey team?
Well, a lot.
After a 31-hour trip back to Columbus, Osiecki met with the team and emphasized how lucky they are to be where they are and to take advantage of what they have. After all, getting a scholarship to play hockey is a privilege, not a right.
"He was saying how fortunate we are over here," junior forward Travis Statchuk said. "They have some nice arenas in some bigger cities but some of the smaller cities they're not as well off as we are here."
Osiecki also wanted to emphasize to his team to have and relax. The Buckeyes are 0-4-2 in the past six games and threatening to repeat the scenarios of the past two seasons when they started well and faded in the second half.
"It's a great opportunity to share those experiences," from the tournament," Osiecki said. "Even some experiences to the players talking about where they're playing right now and coming together as a group.
"This group has played extremely well over the last three to four weekends and haven't a lot of success to show for it."
They will try to rectify that when the Buckeyes play Friday and Saturday at Ferris State (9-8-3, 7-6-1-0 CCHA) at 7:05 p.m.
For OSU (7-8-5, 6-3-3-1) it's the start of four straight road games before eight of 10 in Value City Arena.
"This weekend is really important for us to get out real quick, especially Friday," Statchuk said. "We obviously want to go in and get some points from these guys, get some confidence going into the rest of the season.
The Buckeyes should have touted freshman defenseman Sam Jardine back for the first time since suffering a gash in his forearm two months ago but senior blueliner Devon Krogh (appendectomy) is not expected to play.
Also, volunteer assistant coach R.J. Umberger is no longer with the team. With the impending end of the NHL lockout the forward has returned to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"He was another voice out there and he's a guy who's been through it and has the experience of being in the NHL and being here," Statchuk said of the former OSU player. "It's great to learn from him. He knows what it takes to get to the next level. Most of the guys in the dressing room, that's what we want to do. He definitely was good impact on us."