Here are the 3 key things you need to know from last night's shootout loss at home vs Springfield.
1. Simeon Varlamov is the ONLY reason the Bears got 1 point out of the game. He made many great saves and the two goals weren't totally his fault.
2. The offense was okay but needs to be much better. 2 goals against a bad team at home is not enough. Sure the goalie made big saves but the forwards didn't seem to be interested in playing the way they need to play.
3. The defense was TERRIBLE! If that wouldn't have been for Varly the score could have been 7-2 Falcons. It was horrible.
I have done my fair share of complaining over the past month about the defense and the struggles of this team is not all on them. For instance, Alexandre Giroux, what the hell were you doing in the third period last night? You had 2 horrible plays. The first was a 3 on 1 and you waited way too long to make a pass and you guys didn't even get a shot. Either pass or shoot but you have to do it before you get to the goalie. And the other problem was on the power play. You were WAY out of position. If you were over around the faceoff dot where you are supposed to be you would have had a goal. But instead you are hanging out between the circles with the defensemen causing confusion. TERRIBLE!
Now back to the defense. Tyler Sloan was horrible last night. The first goal happened cause Sloan had NO idea there was a guy skating in behind him. Tyler, watch Brian Pothier play or Karl Alzner, they ALWAYS know where the opposition is and where they are going.
Oh and to Sami Lepisto and Sloan, why are you going deep into the corners with the puck in the offensive zone? Let me give you guys a piece of advice if you EVER want to last in the NHL....NEITHER of you is Mike Green or Tom Poti. DO NOT CARRY THE PUCK DEEP!! And don't jump into the play when you are skating 4 on 4 in overtime either. Sami jumped in last night and forced Coiner to take a penalty cause our defense isn't doing its job.
My advice and opinion is that unless the defense shapes up and starts playing better this team will be golfing before the conference championships. I don't know who is responsible for the defense but here are my recommendations:
The six defensemen that should be playing every night in the playoffs are (assuming Alzner is in Washington):
~ Greg Amadio - he isn't going to do much at the offensive end but he knows EXACTLY where to be at the end he plays in and that is crucial right now.
~ Sean Collins - he has had some bad moments this season but has been one of the steadier players in my opinion.
~ Patrick McNeill - same as Collins. Struggled at times but has been much more consistent than some others.
~ Staffon Kronwall - so far he has shown me nothing but good things. And he can help with the power play too.
~ Sami Lepisto - maybe getting less ice time will help his play cause it hasn't been spectacular this season.
~ Bryan Helmer - still the captain so he needs to be on the list but he has struggled against some of the top players of other teams.
Top Bench Guys:
~ Patrick Wellar - I would feel comfortable with him over Sami and Helmer.
~ Dean Arsene - Much like Amadio he is going to play well in his own end but he has struggled with his play and health again this season.
And Here are the Pairings for these Players:
~ Amadio - Lepisto: This way when Sami jumps up we know there is a good player back.
~ Kronwall - Helmer: Kronwall is a much better skater than Helmer so he will compliment him well
~ Collins - McNeill: They have been solid all season so keep them in and play them together.
You will notice that Sloan is not on this list. I think the team would be much better if he was not on the ice. But since that isn't likely I would HIGHLY recommend playing him alongside either Kronwall or Amadio but NOT Sami or Helmer.
If those things happen than MAYBE this team can improve their defensive zone play. If Woods and French keep the same defensive pairings for the playoffs the offense and goalie's are going to have to carry this team. And I am not sure they can do that.