First off, I'm sick of watching passes hit skates. That is my number one complaint right now, and every time I see a scoring chance ruined with a bad pass, I cringe. Crisp tape-to-tape passing honestly sets the tone for the flow of the offense, and when the guys are turning pucks over by missing their passes, I can honestly hear replays of Jeremy Roenick during period breaks on TV in my head stating the obvious about not being able to score without the puck. Honestly, I think the guys are slowing up because they aren't trusting that the pass is going to get put in a good spot. On the breakout and the entry, the team has lost a lot of the speed that has made the rush so effective for this team in the past, and they've gotten away from that, and I think the lack of passing has a lot to do with it.
Now while I can see the value of passing to get a shot at an open net, sometimes your best chances come with traffic in front. Shooting the puck through bodies creates chances down low in front of the net, where most of the goals are scored. On the power play, and even at 5 on 5, all that I'm seeing is a bunch of passes around the perimeter. Granted, Miami did a good job at keeping the guys to the outside, but our forwards have to do a better job at driving the net, and imposing their will. Sure, sometimes you have to take what their defense gives you. But in turn, you also have to create your own chances. And in the few minutes after Miami scored their first goal, I saw a lot of that. But to win, the guys need to skate like that for 60 minutes. Not just for 15 minutes. Which is a perfect segue into my next point...
Hitting the ice running, getting a good start, and attacking offensively right from the opening puck drop goes a long way. I haven't felt that our team has gotten a good start in quite some time. I don't like watching the 'Nooks playing back and letting the other team dictate the game early on. I'd go as far to say that I think we've been lucky that games have been manageable given how much they've been outplayed so far. Save for the second game at Ohio State last week, I'm still trying to forget about that one.
The saying goes that you get what you deserve, but I really don't think that applies here. I think this team deserves a much better fate than what the record currently shows. Miami is a good team, but from the two games I just watched, they are very beatable. While Miami has historically had our number, the 6 points that they are leaving with this weekend should have stayed here.
The bright side of it is, the guys have that drive and the passion to get through this. Chatting with several of the players this weekend, and even in the post-game social, you can tell they are just as sick of this as I am. But like coach Ferguson has said these last few days, you have to believe. And I truly believe that this team is capable of beating anyone, and here before too long, something is going to give and instead of hitting posts and breaking sticks, we'll actually start seeing goals.
A good weekend upcoming on the road against Notre Dame in their new facility. I'm actually making the trip down myself to go watch this series, and check out the new place. I've got a little side agenda going for after the games as well to add a little value to the trip. Nothing like squeezing in some pro football to make a trip down to America that much more worth it... Since I actually have time off of work this next week, expect some more frequent posts and Twitter updates along the way.