You may have noticed that I have fallen silent here since my last post, it’s hard to really do anything when the team is in a funk like this. What’s more, is that you don’t have to look far to know that the opinion I would add has already been beaten to death everywhere. I don’t have a problem being negative when it’s necessary – such as 9-2 losses when it looks like the team was composed of pee-wee’s. What exactly was pee-wee-esque?
- Chasing the puck. The entire team was guilty of bunching up and all going after the puck carrier. This type of coverage leaves the rest of the opposing team open and leads to goals, lots of them
- Penalties, penalties and more penalties. Sure, some of the penalties called on the Islanders in Pittsburgh were questionable at best – but when you take three or four consecutive penalties on the same shift, things need to be addressed. You don’t skate, you are bound to take penalties – correlation 100%.
- No back checking. It seemed as if the team were spectating their own game, there was no sense of urgency and almost no energy.
- Passes. Once again passes were to areas where there wasn’t a player or too far ahead of behind. I don’t know how many giveaway’s the Islanders had the other night, but it sure did seem like a lot.
- Shots. Sure the team started to shoot more, but when you have prime scoring chances put the shot on net for once. I don’t know how many times someone would shoot and it would be high, wide or hi and wide. I was getting sick of Howie Rose sounding like he was announcing a baseball game – “Just a bit outside”.
- Forecheck. Comes from a lack of skating, for a system that purportedly benefits from a forecheck – it’s not really a surprise that they failed miserably.
What I like about this
I know it’s hard to like anything about the past several days, but I am digging how Scott Gordon is responding to the teams dismal performance. In the past the Islanders coaches would not push the team hard in practice following a nasty loss – but I was hoping Gordon would give them a bag skate and he totally did. The critics all say that the practice before a game day should never be as tough as it would be during a bag skate – but I disagree. If your team is not playing as they should, they should know that a practice so tough it makes you puke is about to be thrown down.
Greg Logan had a great interview with Scott Gordon about the practice:
“You say, ‘I don’t want to kill them in practice and not get it in the game,’” Gordon said. “Well, now I’m at the point where it doesn’t really matter. This needs to be addressed, and it probably should have been addressed three games ago. The goals that are going in are because of our lack of awareness and our lack of effort without the puck coming back into our zone. There’s not a system in the world that’s going to cover your rear end if you don’t have awareness and you don’t have a commitment to get back to your zone.”
“It’s been an ongoing situation where we have not backchecked with awareness and purpose,” Gordon said. “We have to play with more desperation and more purpose all the time. When you’re not doing that, you become easier to play against. That’s not what we want our team identity to be.”
In his blog, Chris Botta talks a bit about the bag skate as well, and has this to say about the two quotes from Gordon to Logan:
That’s completely fair on the coach’s part. But if the Islanders get out-skated tonight, Logie has his angle (and most of his story written) by the end of the second intermission. From what I’ve heard, that skate in Columbus was no moderate bag skate, but Hefty baggy.
If they get out skated. The entire hockey world is one big IF, I am sure Gordon isn’t the first coach to put his team through a rigorous practice the day before a game, I just hope they learned something about not showing up for a game because of it. I don’t even care if they seem tired, a tired team playing the system is better than prepared team not playing the system any day – history has already proven this in past losses.
Sillinger out, Sim back in
Greg Logan also has a blog entry today that claims Mike Sillinger has tweaked his groin and will sit out until he is 100% to avoid the risk of hurting his surgically repaired hip. In his place, Jon Sim who was recently placed on waivers (only to go unclaimed) will find himself getting another look and an opportunity to show the team he can contribute. However, at this point Sim appears to reach his previous point totals if he finishes the season with the Islanders – but there is obviously a log-jam of similar type players (Thompson, Bergenheim, Jackman, Fritz).
Not really sure what to expect exactly tonight, but I know it should be a better effort. We will soon find out.