Friday, October 16, 2015

S-O-F-T

The Sign Over Bob's Crease
Tonight the Blue Jackets succumbed to a bad hockey team, and I emphasize the word 'team', the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3.  Toronto may not be good, but at least there is sound team play.  One of the alleged attributes of our 'team' is that they are character players, who go hard all the time.  One of the characteristics of the opposing teams we have played so far this year is that they are standing at the edge of the crease, unmolested, taking shots at Bob.

Ryan Johansen needs tossed off the top line.  One of the things that has made him a great player in the past is that he has had Joe Thornton pounding his stick in frustration.  There is no part of that game with Joey right now.  It's glide around the ice and whack at the puck.  I think its possible he's pretty banged up, but still playing.  He skates like I walk, and I'm an old man.  He is not helping this team right now, no matter what is going on.  But it is unfair to pick on Joey like this, the malaise is all through the line up.

One of Todd Richards great strengths is that he can keep an even keel through some pretty crazy times.  He needs to recognize that his job is on the line, and start channeling his inner Mike Keenan.  But what then?  Do you bag skate the team tomorrow, before they play Chicago??  How dumb would that be?  So he is caught between a rock and a hard place.  He has a team that was built to be a tough, physical team, but thinks it's the Edmonton Oilers, where they are going to out skill everyone.  In reality, we need to bring up our ginormous Russian defenseman from the A who at least will have the attribute of hanging around the crease and knocking some people on their a**.  In reality, that's a really stupid statement.  But reality is a relative thing around this hockey team.

Tonight we deepened a franchise record for futility.   This is a Friday night game, early in the season, and already they have crapped on the attendance with their disjointed play.  Honestly, I don't see how Richards survives the weekend, which has stupid written on it in huge capital letters.  But there does not seem to be any urgency in this team's play, and unless Richards decides what players he wants to live or die with, and start benching regulars, it looks like a lost cause.

The only thing that might help this team right now is a down right John Davidson, 'I don't care who you are I can arrange for you to be playing in Peoria by tomorrow night and why in the hell should I have to put up with this crap' stare down of the hockey team.  But what greater sign of dysfunction is hockey operations interfering with how the coach runs the team.  So the only option left is to jettison the coach, which has its own level of dysfunction.  Oy, its making my head hurt.

So let's start with some fundamentals.  If the other guy wants to go to your crease, you need to knock him on his ass.  For the CBJ, the welcome mat is out for territory that should be sacrosanct.  And I promise you that the rest of the NHL does not care if it hurts your feelings that they go in there and score.  The players on this team are supposed to be tough, hard nose players, but they are unable to play that way.  What now?

GO JACKETS!

1 comment:

  1. I agree wholly with the assessment of the play, especially the "first line", but will ask the obvious question... What good does it do to remove HCTR when he is NOT the problem? Management removed K. Hitchcock and got little to nothing in return for three to four seasons. Professional athletes need to play to their ability. It is what they are paid to do.

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