Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Poor Systems Game

Stinger Looks Mean, So I'll Put Him in There
Tonight the Detroit Redwings waxed the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-0.  The Redwings played the way Mike Babcock drew it up.  The Blue Jackets did not play like HCTR drew it up.  I'm going to pick on Brian Gibbons a bit here, but seriously?  You were brought in to compete for a fourth line spot.  You are playing on the top line because of your speed, and the incredible string of injuries.  Our coach says their defensemen are going to confront you, so get the puck deep in the offensive zone.  In the first period, you bring the puck across the blue line, stop, and fiddle with the puck.  Really?  Mentally, I even said to my self 'get it deep'.  Nope.  You had other ideas, Detroit came and took the puck from you, and before the scramble was over, Detroit was ahead 1-0.  WTf  Seriously?

Anyway, tonight was Detroit's night.  Since we've kind of owned them lately, and we are certainly down right now, it makes a certain amount of sense.  They beat us at our game, by winning the puck races, but played their system well.  Jimmy Howard made one brilliant save, a couple of pretty good ones, and the rest were routine to record the shut out.  The Jackets played HCTR's system pretty good in the first period, and then abandoned it for the quick shot, or the quick cycle out to the point for the open shot that Howard yawned before he stopped during the rest of the game.  Two players seemed to resolutely play the Jackets system, Boone Jenner and Alex Wennberg.  And Nick Foligno, of course.  And Hartsy, but he plays that a bit different, since his role is to get in front of the net.

Look.  You have these games in the season.  Detroit did their thing flawlessly.  In spite of my miserable record of prognostication, it's unlikely that Detroit can sustain that for the rest of the season.  But tonight was their night, and credit to them.  They were a step faster in all aspects of the game.  The score showed that.

The CBJ have now scored two goals in two games.  Take the Philly game out of the picture, and we are averaging less than two goals a game.  Other teams are saying, 'take Ryan Johansen out of the game at any costs, and we can beat the rest of those guys'.  We need to make other teams pay for that, but until we do, Joey is going to be shut down.

A response from the team to this game is critical.  They have gone through some tough times, but all they really need to do is respond to the loss with a win in the short term.  Over the long term they need to accumulate some wins, but that is not necessary at this juncture.  Playing .500 hockey is the immediate goal.  We'll save racking up wins for when we ice a reasonably healthy team.

So in the end it was their night, but that does not define our season.  Respond, win, and move on.  Start another losing spiral, and we'll start thinking McTank for McDavid.  But it's early for that yet, way early.


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