Another great post from Allan… he and I chatted earlier this week about having a hard time recapping a frustrating weekend. I’m glad he was able to do it. It’s hard to write about a couple of losses that shouldn’t have happened, but hey, it’s something to build on, and the Checkers still lead the Midwest Division. Let’s Go Checkers!
All in all the end of the homestand last weekend was not too pretty. The Checkers only got 2 out of a possible 6 points against teams that honestly did not have the same speed or potential scoring ability as the Checkers.
1. The power play just looks terrible, lots of turnovers, slow passes at the point and WAY TOO MANY Shorthanded goals and chances for the other team. Charlotte leads the league with 4 shorthanded tallies but has given up a horrible 3 and without some good goal tending that number would be a lot higher.
2. Too many times guys are skating around looking for a pretty pass or high light shot instead of getting the puck on net. Of course not many guys seem ready to go camp out in front and do the dirty work to put in rebounds.
3. The forwards got caught quite a few times playing in too deep and then not hustling back which has led to quite a few 3 on 2 breaks when the Checkers really had not put on enough offensive pressure to warrant not being able to back check.
4. The Penalty Kill has looked better but they still laspe at times and let fowards coming off the bench to get behind them and they press a little too hard for shorthanded chances which makes it easier for the other team to get back into the zone easily.
5. Dumb penalties–especially in the game Friday against Texas–Blanchard and Bowman both took horrible penalties away from the puck which helped lead to the loss.
6. Coach Daniels had an interview where he said “he was mixing up the lines more to avoid getting stale” well too much might be even worse, every game had some type of change on the lines. At some point when you find 3 guys that are all in sync with each other leave it alone. Daniels does a great job of using all 4 lines pretty close to even in 5 on 5 play so it is not a case of TOI. Get 3 forwards on the same page and let them play at least 2-3 games together before mixing it up.
I dont want to sound too down on a first place team but they REALLY should have not lost to either Texas or Lake Erie this weekend. This team has a ton of talent and a lot of NHL scouts are watching due to the Canes struggles. They need to take advantage of this time when this whole group is together because the situation in Raleigh is not going to allow that forever. Anyway know onto some better thoughts:
1. The goal tending is still great and is saving the team from its lack of scoring. Justin Peters made all the saves he could against Lake Erie and all the goals against were on the D. Murphy beside a brain cramp is awesome (Congrats on the call-up and making the history books in his first NHL appearance even though it is a dubious record for someone who has not given up a NHL goal yet!!!)
2. Nicolas Blanchard and Justin Soryal are just putting out pure heart and hustle every game. Neither is a talented goal scorer but they fight and skate hard every shift and the rest of the players need to take a cue from them.
3. Chris Murray continues to play solid D and did a decent job on the PP unit Monday.
4. Justin Kruegar and Rasmus Rissanen are both solid stay at home D-men as rookies and if they add just a little offense to their games will cause a lot of problems for other teams.
5. Brett Sutter just continues to show why he should really be up in Raleigh with his two-way play and the fact he never shows that he gets down when reassigned. It will be a shame when he is no longer in a Checkers uniform.
6. Jerome Samson is still almost impposible to knock off the puck in the corners and boards and why he is not getting more of a shot at least on the 4th line in Raleigh is beyond me.
Well good luck this weekend taking on Texas and San Antonio bring home 4 points and increase the division lead!