Last night's game was a stinkfest. While the Canes didn't look exactly like zombies, they did look like they would have rather stayed in Raleigh than be playing hockey in Pittsburgh. I think the precise coaching term is "disinterested". The forecheck was almost non existent. There were very few good scoring chances. That was probably the easiest shut out Marc Andre Fleury will ever "earn". I thought Erik Cole might have been fired up to be on the same ice as Orpik again. I was wrong. One has to feel a bit sorry for Cam Ward who played his heart out and made save after save, only to be given minimal support and effort by his mates.
Speaking of the missing forecheck, according to the super stats sheet the team had a total of 16 hits. Most of those were by the defensemen. I don't understand this. Does the team make some type of decision at some point before or during the game that they think they can win the game without hitting anyone? The last time I looked at this stat against Florida, we had 49 hits, 13 alone by Erik Cole. Last night he had 1. That's right, Erik Cole had one single hit on a night he should have been fired up and hitting everything in sight. Babchuk had 3 hits, Adams had 3, Wallin had 2 and Ladd had 2. The rest of the team had 1 each or none. Like I said, I don't understand the mentality behind this. We need to forecheck in order to win, if we don't, we will lose. This isn't brain surgery. Everyone knows that you have to get physical with Crosby or he will skate circles around you. No wonder the game was boring and it looked like there was little or no action. There wasn't any. The only positive thing about the game was that it was on the road. I'm glad I did my mid-term ratings before this game because there would have been a few different scores if I had waited. Atlanta lost tonight, it's too bad we didn't gain any ground.
Apparently I'm not the only one who feels the team didn't skate as hard as they could have and should have. There were some interesting quotes in the News and Observer this morning.
"We played the game like the points didn't matter," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said after keeping his team for several minutes behind closed doors. "We were rested, we were ready to go, and the effort was lousy."
"I don't think it's about them, it's about us and our preparation and our execution and our attitude," Carolina defenseman Glen Wesley said. "You don't win in this league unless you have guys competing every night, competing as a group, because you can't have guys taking shifts off, doing it 70, 80 percent of the time. You've got to do it all night long."
Very well said gentlemen, now they need to do something about it.
Yesterday, I stated that the Pens were riding a 5 game losing streak. They broke that streak with a win over the Leafs, somehow I missed that game. So now they have won 2 in a row and we have lost 3 of the last 4. Maybe the guys were not feeling well last night, that's why they didn't hit anyone or skate hard.Â Hopefully, they will feel better by tomorrow night when they play at home against Phoenix. Ciao for now!