Thursday, October 29, 2009

Game 11 Summary

Long road trip. Different time zone. Other team has the advantage of the 2nd line change, yadda yadda yadda. These were some of the excuses offered to explain the Jacket's recent 1-4 road trip to the West Coast. Okay, so without those issues to plague them a home game should see a return to the form the team showed early in season, right? Not so much.

After playing like an average to respectable NHL team in the first period last night, the Jackets played the final two periods like my D-League team. Which is to say not well.

All of the comments from the players after those road losses were that they knew they were going to have to play harder. They said they understood what they were doing wrong, what had to be changed and that they would make the necessary adjustments. Naturally, I was looking for them to implement these realizations and to play hard. They did not. I almost feel like Doug MacLean just sold me some healing tonic made from raccoon extract.

Neutral zone turnovers, soft defense, unwillingness to skate hard to get back to the defensive zone, and no-look passes to the high slot in the hopes that a teammate would be there. All the same things they have been doing for the past week and a half. As my buddy would say, it was diarrhea on ice.

What concerns me the most is that they didn't respond. I'm not talking about a response to one particular incident in a game. I'm taking about a lack of response to having your asses handed to you 3 out of the 4 previous games. Responding to the fact that your PK has gone from best-in-the-league to 19th (after last night). Responding to having given up 23 goal in the five games heading into last night.

The first game home after a brutal road trip is exactly where you would hope a team would rally and do what it takes to win. This team did not. With the defending Stanley Cup Champions coming to town on Friday, the boys in Blue had better rediscover their ability and willingness to compete at the NHL level, and do so quickly.
During the post-game interviews they all said they know they lost because the didn't play hard enough and that they will regroup and put in the effort next time.

We'll be watching and waiting.

-Top Shelf

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