Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Dark Side (12/4/11)

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm...

1.  Why did Scott Arniel run Curtis Sanford out there in Edmonton on the second night of a back-to-back roadie? On top of that Sanford had already started eight straight games and, arguably, had started to show some signs of fatigue. The bottom line is there aren't many NHL teams that ask their starting goaltender to pull back-to-back duty on a roadie. 

Some might suggest that Sanford isn't necessarily our starting goalie. If not, isn't that even more reason to sit him in Edmonton and go to a fresh and rested Mason? And if he is our starting goalie, then why treat him like a rented mule? It's a safe assumption that Arniel has no plans to use Mason any time soon. If he does, wasn't Edmonton the perfect time and place to do so?

It makes sense to go with the hot hand. Maybe Sanford is a rented mule and Arniel will have to ride him for long stretches this season. But the dude is going to need a break at some point. So why not Edmonton, on the second night of back-back road games, in a different time zone, after what had to be an exhausting game, physcially and mentally, the night before in Calgary? Desperate times call for desperate measures. But there's a fine line between desperation and panic. Panic is no good (unless it's Widespread Panic of course). 

2. Why did Arniel put Kristian Huselius on the first line in Edmonton? Or I guess the real question is why wasn't Vinnie Prospal on the first line. Kristian who? I vaguely remember him. Don't get me wrong. I love the fact that Huselius is back. Depth is rarely a bad thing. But how about a little game action before throwing him up there? Why take Nash and Prospal out of their comfort zones? And why take most everybody else out of there's as well? On the road. With no time to practice with these lines.

3. Why do the Blue Jackets seem like a completely different (and really, really bad) team in the third period on a lot of nights? It's been a recurring theme this season. The game at Edmonton might be Exhibit A. Despite the fact that Sanford was starting to show signs that he was horse-whipped, literally and figuratively, and despite the fact that it looked like Arniel really was playing lineup bingo, the Jackets entered the third period with a 2-1 lead (yes Alison, thanks to Derek Dorsett). Jackets fans were elated.

And then, rather quickly, Jackets fans were deflated. It really seemed like it was over when the Oilers scored two goals in the third to take the lead, but then we had to watch them score three more.

What is the root cause of these seismic shifts in momentum? Is it lack of heart and desire? Is it lack of skill? I don't think so, or we wouldn't be able to look so good in the first period.  Is it conditioning? If so, we must be the worst conditioned team in the league. Also, how can an entire team of professional athletes start sucking wind individually at the exact same time, the start of the third period. It must be something else.

When it comes to breaking down hockey, I'm admittedly an amateur. But is a degree in hockey theory even necessary here? In any other sport -- football, basketball, soccer, capture the freaking flag, it doesn't matter -- when a team, that was early in a game effectively executing their game plan, suddenly becomes ineffective at executing their game plan, especially when it happens after the player's have emerged from an intermission period, isn't it the coach's fault? Which brings up another question, doesn't it? Hmmmm....

1 comment:

  1. love the title. Good points all as well as a few others that all make you go hummmmmm. Vinny had good results with the 2nd line, so I can see that move, but I had hoped to see Juice on the 4th line to get into game timing and shape with smaller ice time, so big agreement on that comment. J Moore is young and speedy, good match for the Oilers, but where was he? Hummmmm
    We had gone a few games without getting kicked in the ass by cross ice passes, suddenly they are back, why? Hummmmm
    Was this the previously discussed "second game plan" that was going to be rolled out to save energy and cross up the other team, if so, how'd that work out? Hummmm


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