"Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning, but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing. That's my way, sir; and there are many victories worse than a defeat." (George Eliot).
Alas, it took me a week to post this - tough to write after a week of games like the ones the Isles played against Dallas, Carolina, NYR, Flyers, and the Habs. Let's take the disasters one at a time:
Dallas: (5-3 Loss) Horrendous penalty-kill, too many penalties (making Avery look good), and some sloppy play in their own end = a recipe for disaster. The 5-3 score makes it sound like a closer game then it was. Isles were outplayed, made mistakes, and DP looked shaky. We find out days later - his shakiness could be because he just wasn't 100%
Carolina: (4-3 Loss) The story of this game - 60 shots by Isles and Weight's missed potential game-tying penalty shot with under a second left in the game. First - 60 shots sounds like they sent an overwhelming barrage on net - when in reality, many of those shots were not high quality or high percentage shots. They did have plenty of chances - but again, their lack of scoring punch was evident - as is their lack of a sniper to take the penalty shot. Can't fault Gordon's choice of shooter - Weight knows the Canes & is a crafty veteran who likely wouldn't be impacted by the pressure of the situation. All great - except in the end, he didn't get the job done.
One ancillary observation -- DP's handling of the puck has been awful. He leads the team each night in giveaways. He needs to get better in his decision making when he goes for or has the puck. He is now pretty much a veteran - he's gotta cut down on the mistakes.
NYR: (4-2 Loss) Another example of 20 minutes of good hockey and then tailing off with defensive lapses and too much time spent with guys in the penalty box. MacDonald has at least shown that he can play at the NHL level - but they will need him to step up his game if they are going to hang with the big boys.
Flyers: (3-2 OT Loss) Well, now they upgraded to 40 minutes of good hockey. If they could just remember the game is 60 minutes long. Hilbert's goal was pure luck -- shouldn't be a reason to think he is going to do much this season. I am getting a little tired of the post-game "we are playing the system, I see improvements, we had good momentum in the 2d period, if we could just do what we did for 20 or 40 minutes for a full 60 minute, we are getting better" coach-speak. Please, save the Kool Aid for someone else. Fans are shelling out LOTS of money - not just for game tickets but for food, parking, beverages, and gear, and they DESERVE better than half efforts or excuses about adjusting to a system. This is starting to get extremely frustrating.
Habs: (5-4 UGLY Loss) I will cover this game in my next blog otherwise I'll just vomit.
Since reporting on the games is beginning to be a bit boring -- how many ways can you find something positive to say about another horrendous loss? - Next up, along with a Habs wrap-up, I will provide some insight for those of you out there who wonder what it is like to be part of the "media." Yes, as a blogger, I am considered media - sometimes, I am amazed myself. It is a nice perk. We get little badges at the game (not very sophisticated - made of flimsy cardboard & a sticker); we get the "game notes" that are provided to mainstream sports writers; and we get access to the post-game press conference with Gordon & can interview players. So.........
Next up: A window into the life of a blogger.