Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I've Seen Better

Well, don't I just look silly now.

I was so confident about this game, and we just go and lay a turd on center ice in a shootout. However, if you want to be the optimistic type, we did get $50 pledged to H2H2 AND still got a point at the same time. If that's not win-win, it's at least win-overtimeloss. So there's THAT.

Now let's dig into the game a little bit. That second line was still the deadliest line in the entire LEAGUE tonight, with (my boy) Franzen netting 2 goals with Filppula and Bertuzzi contributing to the cause. When that line is playing full charge, I don't think anyone can stop them. We saw what this line could do in Game 4 of the San Jose series, and I think I can speak for the whole of Hockeytown when I say that I'm relieved they haven't really lost that chemistry. We could have used a little more tonight, but this makes 2 straight games that someone on that line has had a multi-goal game.

Someone on the opposite end of that spectrum would be Doug Janik. That fight... really. If I'm Janik tonight, I'm calling everyone involved with Fight Night and personally apologizing for the sad display I put on out there. Looking like that much of a bitch in a fight against an Av, that's grounds for a public flogging in my book. And knowing that Darren McCarTHY was watching in the Versus studio just makes it worse. Speaking of McCarTHY... you can't really fault the guy on Versus for calling him that. It's not like Darren spent his entire playing career with his last name plastered across this back. OH WAIT. He did.

Pardon me while I go off on an elitist rant for a second. Calling a player by the wrong name is inexcusable unless it's one of those names that looks like the last spoonful of alphabet soup left in the bowl. These people have their names on their jerseys, and I know you fuckers have stat sheets and shit sitting in front of you. Now, maybe the educational system in America isn't what it used to be, but simple reading skills are one of the very first things I learned when I was growing up. It's not as hard to figure out how to pronounce these names as they seem to make it look. Then again, it IS harder when you're throwing random fucking letters in all willy-nilly. (LiNdstrom, McCartHy)

Okay, climbing down off of my soapbox... This game has put me squarely in the So-Sodano camp for now. He has to earn his way out of my doghouse after a game like this. He was a -3 tonight. I feel he was directly responsible for the Dupuis goal, flubbing the puck at the Av blue line and turning it over. If this is more of what were going to see from him this year opposed to the scoring-on-his-first-shot Mikey Mo we shit our pants over against Anaheim, I'm going to be unhappy. Very unhappy. The good news is we have kids that we can put in if he keeps up like this. When Abby gets back from his ribs, I say he takes over for Modano unless Mike proves he's not going to be a liability like tonight. I feel that the 4th line is looking too good right now to pull someone out just beause someone else is healthy. You have to pull someone who deserves to be pulled. Right now, I'd say it's Modano.

You might remember that last year, I had an H2H pledge for goals scored by defensemen below the top of the circles. Tonight, I noticed that was the trend again. Kronwall had a couple really good chances from the slot that he just couldn't put on the board, Stuart had a few deep chances, and I think Lidstrom clanked one off the post from inside the left circle.

They were good chances, and I'm not knocking the strategy completely, but it seemed to be too much of the gameplan and we completely abandoned the idea of point passing and moving the puck to open passing and shooting lanes. We probably could have used some movement and confusion seeing as Colorado seemed to be in the way of EVERY shot we took ever. I mentioned in the pregame post that Colorado had given up 38 shots in both of their first two games. It looks like they might have worked on that a little bit in preparation for the game tonight. And it looks like it worked because they were definitely clogging the lanes out there tonight.

Maybe it was just because Serven mentioned it, too, but it looked like most of the night, the offense was only using half of the offensive zone, trying to keep things deep. Maybe Budaj is a poor lateral mover, so that was the strategy... I don't know, I didn't write the scouting report on him. All I know is we lost tonight so I'm bitter, critical, and riding a high horse that's standing on a soapbox.

And, BOY, we all love those shootouts, don't we.

I know there have been countless comments about how we need to take it out of the game and come up with a better way to break ties. And it looks like someone on the Wings agrees, because it looks like they completely took it out of their game. Did they even practice that at all over the summer or in training camp?
To be fair, the Wings beat Budaj at least 4 times but just went wide or hit the post or couldn't elevate the puck. That was a game we should have won. Not in regulation, but we should have taken that second point in the shootout. That was the only part of the game we played well enough to deserve that second point. If ONE of those four shots that Budaj missed goes in, Jimmy's playing well enough at the other end to seal the deal. It never should have gotten to Yip, and Yip shouldn't have scored.

Maybe it's just me, but the way the guys played tonight, they seemed content to just scrape a point away. There was no urgency when momentum was on thier side after a goal and there was no aggression when Colorado scored and we needed a good counter-punch to bring them down a peg or two. And there seemed to be a sense of complacency that led to a few goals. I mentioned Ozzie has always had a tendency to let in the late goal after that Chitcago game. Yimmy got hit twice with that tonight.

Overall, we're lucky to still be riding a point streak after that game. We certainly didn't play like the undefeated team we were coming into this contest.

But, there are bound to be more games like this. There are still (at least) 79 more to play. Some will be ridiculously good. Others will make this game look ridiculously good. That is hockey.

That is why we love it and it's also why we hate it.

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