For the second straight night the Bears managed to score only 1 goal. And for the 2nd straight night the Bears lost to a last place team. Last night it was Adirondack, tonight it was Providence.
Tomorrow Hershey welcomes the Charlotte Checkers to town...they are a second place team. If the Bears can't score on the worst teams, will they score on a good team?
There are so many thing to discuss from tonight's game. Good things and bad things. Let's start with the good....
I know the first goal he let in was soft. It was bad. He knows it too. But the rest of the night he was on his game. He was in position for every shot and made damn near every save he could make.
He is kind of a mix between Varly and Neuvy. He is very sound positionally like Neuvy but he is also very athletic like Varly. Now he just needs to work on the consistency part and he could be a very good goaltender going forward.
Tonight was pretty much the defense Hershey expected to have night in night out this past summer. Nycholat, Fahey, Wellar, McNeill, Miscovic, and Collins. That was going to be the top 6 before Souray entered the fray.
This was the first that they had all been in the lineup together. And I thought they played very well overall. A few sloppy handles at the blue line, a few missed assignments, but overall I thought a very good game. Lots of physicality, lots of blocked shots, and lots of broken up passes.
They were responsible for the 2nd goal but only that one. Not a bad game at all. I think if this group (and Souray) were to remain healthy (and in Hershey) they will be just fine.
That's it for the good. Definitely something to build on but Hershey didn't look good outside of those 2 items.
So what didn't go right....
Were the coaches watching the same game as me? Were they paying attention to how the players on the ice were performing?
I understand wanting Keith Aucoin on the ice. I really do. You are missing 4 of your top 6/7 forwards to recall and/or injury so you really think you need him on the ice. But he is not ready. Unless he re-aggravated the knee injury in the first period I would say that Coiner is skating at about 60%. And that might be generous.
But I can see dressing him and playing him OCCASIONALLY. The power play...fine, let him set up and pass. 5 on 5...from time to time but not every shift. But the penalty kill?? HE COULDN'T SKATE! He coasted into the defensive zone regularly and even the offensive zone from time to time.
I think it's great that he is toughing it out for the team but you can't honestly look me in the eye and tell me that Trevor Bruess wouldn't have been better in most of those situations.
I acknowledge that Coiner is a better offensive player than 50% of the Bears team even when he is at only 50% but hockey is not exclusively played in the offensive zone. And right now, tonight, he is/was a hindrance at the other end.
As I said...dress him, play him in certain situations but please don't play him on the penalty kill. It didn't burn the team tonight but it sure didn't help.
I understand that there are lots of players missing. 3 of the top 4 scorers are injured and/or on recall. 4 of the top 8. And if you count Aucoin it's 5 of 8.
But you can't keep changing the lines up. Now is the time to pick some lines and stick with them so the guys can adjust to who they are playing with.
Of the 12 forwards that dressed tonight only 5 were on this team full time at this time last year. Hell, only 8 of them were getting regular minutes 2 weeks ago!
So, needless to say, most of these guys haven't played alongside one another in a game or practice. What they need is to play together for a bit. Even just 2 straight games. Something so they can get some cohesiveness.
This week they practiced with unusual lines due to the call ups and injuries. Yet they abandoned them after last nights game to go to something different.
Obviously things aren't going to click right away. But you can't just dismantle everything after one bad game. Now there was a second bad game...so are we going to see new lines Sunday evening? Probably. I think you have to since Coiner just can not play tomorrow. There is no way.
So here I make some suggestions...
Lacroix - Willsie - Kugryshev
Pinner - Joudrey - Kashirsky
Bouchard - Bruess - Kane
GMac - Rome - Reclicz
Lacroix and Kashirsky should get a chance. Both were scoring in South Carolina and both play with energy. Kugryshev was a scorer before so give him the chance. Kane played great tonight but I think he would help to get more out of Bouch. And Rome took some faceoffs tonight so let him play center on the occasional 4th line.
You would have good hustle on each line and a better balance and use of talent.
There, those are my thoughts on this weekend.
Oh...one last thing...
the diving call on Aucoin was spot on. Maybe it was the injury, maybe he was tired. Either way he went down VERY EASILY and the correct call was made. I watched Coiner lean into the other guy and as soon as the player moved his elbow he went down.
Just thought I would share my thoughts as most of the arena didn't agree with the call.