Sunday, November 6, 2011

Enough is Enough

Fair warning, this is not going to be a typical game recap. If that's what you're expecting, I apologize but this needs to be said. I'm not going to sugar coat this any more. I've done that enough thus far, but like everything else, there's a breaking point.

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.

13 comments:

Britton said...

Also, for what its worth, the call on Taranto was about the lamest attempt at balancing the penalty calls that I've seen in a while. At worst a 2 minute minor boarding penalty. If there was in fact contact to the head, it was minor and incidental. One of my Twitter followers even began #FreeTaranto, a hashtag discussing the magnitude of bull that call contained. Czarnik deserved it, Taranto didn't. Simply put.

Jason said...

That was a piss-poor call on Taranto.

It's a shame because our season is pretty well shot at this point. This far back about the best we can hope for is creeping back into the 7th or 8th place range. And you're right, this year's Miami team is not the Miami of old. They're decent, but they don't have the firepower that they've had the last few years. Also, Reichard flat-out stole the Friday game on their behalf.

But, the sad truth is that we, for whatever reason, aren't ready to compete in the CCHA right now. Goaltending is subpar, and partly because Greenham's not getting much in the way of defense in front of him. The power-play is on snooze mode. And you're right about the passing, although that seems to be a chronic issue with this team for quite some time.

I posted this on USCHO, but I think we should give Thompson a shot for a game or two at this point. It's nothing against Greenham, but he's seemed a little off all season and I think the fact that our defense is routinely letting opposing forwards crash the net is taking a toll on him. Let him get some rest and heal up and get his head back in the game, is my humble opinion. If this continues as-is I'm worried about his confidence.

Hopefully the guys can hit the reset button this week and go into Notre Dame with a collectively clear head. Getting even one win on the road at Notre Dame in their new palace would be a huge step forward.

Keep the faith, 'Nooks. We still love you.

Amanda M said...

Very well said guys! I couldn't agree with you more Jason about giving Thompson a chance, I know alot of the games have been close and it's not all Greenhams fault but I really would like to see Thomspon or even Cahill in net just for a game or two to see how they perform.

I could NOT believe the reffing this weekend. It was my first series I've attended this season due to traveling but I really doubt the reffing was much better the previous weekends. Like on Friday when the ref lost sight of the puck when it was RIGHT IN FRONT OF AN EMPTY NET and as soon as one of our guys went to shoot it in, ref blew the play dead.

It's SOOOO frustrating to follow and support a team for so long and constantly just feel like we either get screwed over or things just aren't clicking like they should. But you're right again Jason, we still love our Nooks!!!

Amanda M said...

Also, can we get a petition or something going to bring back the old intro video? The one this year is great, but it doesn't get me as pumped up as the old one did!

Merlin said...

I agree with everyone. Fundamental hockey is what the Nooks are missing right now. I am a huge Greenham fan, but I think at this point some drastic changes need to be made. 2 points in 6 conference games is unacceptable. You have to play the guy that gives you the best chance to win at every position. Right now, I just don't think Scott is that guy. Maybe use a Thompson and Cahill combo this coming weekend. Give Scott some rest and see what the other guys can do. You're already losing games you should be winning so it can't hurt anything. Another thing I couldn't understand last night at the end was the 6 skaters they had on the ice after pulling Greenham. If you have pulled the goalie to try and tie the game with time running out, why in the world do you still have 2 defensemen who are not known for scoring on the ice? Put your 6 best offensive players out there that give you the best chance to score a goal. It's not rocket science. Everyone wants to blame just the players, but moves like that show the coaches need some work too.

Burrley said...

Thanks for the critical perspective, it's warranted. In response to some other comments, Greenham actually played great in the 2nd and 3rd period last night, he looked like his old self and was the only reason the game stayed close; some of his saves were incredible late in the game, keep him in. The 2nd goal from Miami resulted from allowing a man to stand right in front of Greenham with nobody on him, no stick on him, no body even close. We are letting teams cross the blue line with speed and not knocking anyone off the puck.

Passing may be one of the key ailments, but I think the lack of a team unit is the core issue...Player's don't know where each other are on the ice, and many aren't looking up when they pass. The cute drop passes in our own zone went to Miami as many times as they the went to the Nooks. The d to d pass to start the break went to the boards far to many times. I think we have the talent, but it needs to get coordinated. Same applies to the most dismal power play ever.

PS...the opening animation was horrible last year, please don't bring it back. Fighter jets blowing up other schools and planet earth really isn't the best message...

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

Try feeling this way about your team since you were born (19 years, 19 straight losing seasons) , then you could begin to understand the pain of being a Seawolves Fan. I've stated before, being a Seawolves Fan is harder then being a Red Sox fan pre-October 2004.

Pam said...

Have to agree with everyone's comments...but I too would like to see last years video return..it at least pumped up the fans before the team came out. I think the opening video this year would be good at the end of the game or just prior to the opening video. Last years video did receive some national attention :)

Amanda M said...

A Seawolves Fanatic - Nanooks haven't really had a "winning" season per say either. Sure we went to the NCAA's a few years back but we didn't win the tournament, we haven't won the CCHA regular season or the CCHA tourney. And I've been a Nanook fan for 20 years, so I feel your pain.

The Nanooks have it in them to do well...something will click eventually!! GO NOOKS!!

johnak said...

I see that a couple people already want to start looking for alternatives to Greenham. Explain to me how it makes sense change goaltenders when the problem is that UAF has scored 7 goals in 6 league games? We don't need a new goalie. What we need is for someone to starts scoring some goals. Other than the hair ball against Ohio State, which was caused by 3 pp goals during the 1st period major, Greenham has been more than solid. From before the beginning of the season we have known that the big question mark was goal scoring. Bruce even alluded to it in his preseason, pump up the fan base, ads on 820 am. Everyone's concern at the beginning of the year has come to pass. Britton's comments about poor passing are right on the mark. You can't get any flow if don't move the puck from tape to tape. In addition, while UAF often cycles the puck well down low, they seem to be having a hard time moving the puck off of the side boards into the high quality scoring areas. We definitely need to be more agressive at getting to the front of the net and at the same time start making the other teams goaltenders a little uncomfortable. Both Western and Miami ran into Greenham "accidentally" more than once during their series. It is about time that our forwards start introducing themselves to the other teams goalies.

Merlin said...

Greenham is a great goaltender but when you are continually losing, you have to make changes, which sometimes means pulling guys that don't necessarily deserve it. It's the nature of sports. What you are doing is not working so you need to try something different. In football, it's often the QB whether he is playing well or not. It happens and is necessary sometimes. Maybe Thompson goes lights out and inspires the team. Maybe by pulling Scott, it will piss his teammates off enough to play harder and be more aggressive. There are several positive outcomes from it. I understand it is NCAA level hockey and winning isn't the only thing, but I don't pay hundreds of dollars and drive miles and miles to watch a team lose all year. Especially not a team that has enough talent to win every game they play in.

johnak said...

Merlin, did you watch Thompson play against Mercyhurst? I'm sure he's a great kid but he is not the answer, even for a short term breather, during league play. A big part of UAF's success over the last decade has been the result of strong goaltending (Rogers, Johnson, Greenham). If that tradition is going to continue after Greenham graduates, then the assistant coaches are problably in western Canada this week trying to get the kid to sign a letter of intent.

Britton said...

Wow, a lot of good comments going.

Honestly, I don't think Greenham is the problem. He puts the team in a position to win every game. I think the defense has been a little to aggressive and have put more trust in him to make the save. Or if you'd rather, hung him out to dry. However, starting Thompson or Cahill puts a spark in a team that needs a boost. Seeing how Sean Cahill has been as of late, he's solidified himself as the number 2 guy. No offense to Thompson by any means, but Cahill is going to be a stud. Don't be surprised if he gets a look or two before this season is over.

The guys need to keep their sticks down and always be ready for a pass. Pucks come their way, and they're like a deer in headlights with surprise sometimes. But it also comes down to making the decision between pass and shoot. I think it goes without saying, but they need to start favoring the shoot option.