Monday, February 14, 2011

Bears struggle; Pens make a statement

Well that was a pretty poor showing this weekend.  It started off well enough with a 4-3 win over Providence but things just went downhill from there.

First, another injury. This time to center Trevor Bruess with a fractured ankle that will keep him sidelined for 3 months.

That makes it 9 players by my count.  9 players out with injuries and reportedly only Maxime Lacroix is possibly going to play tomorrow night in Norfolk.

But that doesn't excuse the effort that Hershey put in on Saturday night or the outcome on Sunday. 

Let's start with Saturday.  Hershey didn't show up to play until the last 10 minutes of the game.  At which point they did make a game of it but it was too little too late as they still fell 4-3.

5 shots.  That's how many shots the Bears recorded in the 2nd period.  And I think only 1 of those came in the 2nd half of the period.  Terrible hockey.

And I actually didn't think the officiating was that bad.  Yes the highsticking call on Willsie was a missed call but the referee doesn't have the luxury of replay to confirm his calls so I can see his misinterpretation while watching it at full speed.

But the call late in the 3rd period on Steve Pinizzotto was dead on.  Referee Jean Hebert was calling a tight game all night long and Pinner absolutely slashed him.  The problem was that Hebert didn't make the call until the Senator player fell to the ice.

That is okay with me.  I think he was basically allowing the play to happen until the player fell.  Would it have been a call during another game with another ref...who knows.  But it was called tight on Saturday night and instead of blaming the ref for the calls just quit slashing the guy.

If you have access to the video on AHLlive go back and watch the final few minutes.  A couple seconds before the player fell Pinner placed a very nice slash on the Senator. 

It was one of many lazy, dumb penalties that Hershey took Saturday night. 

Were some calls missed on the Senators...sure.  But those kinds of things work themselves out over the course of the season.  Don't think for one second that Hershey hasn't been given the benefit of the doubt on calls this year.

The good news on Saturday was that no additional players were injured. 

And in the end it was just Binghamton.  Sure you would want to win that but it wasn't like the Bears lost to the Pens and fell even further behind in the division race.

That would happen Sunday.

I didn't see Sunday's game so I won't say anything about the players effort in that one but the score says everything you probably need to know.


7 goals from 7 different Penguins. 

And you can't use the injuries and call ups as an excuse.  Look at the Pens roster.  They are currently missing their top 7 scorers.

Not 7 of their top 10...their top 7.  That would be like the Bears missing Gordon, Aucoin, Willsie, Greentree, Kane, Pinner, and Nycholat.  Hershey still has 4 of their top 7.

The fact that the Pens had a team to play the game was impressive enough.  The fact that they just flat destroyed the Bears speaks volumes of their desire to win.

And it makes you question Hershey's.

The fact that it was Hershey's 4th game in 5 days doesn't hold any weight either.  The Pens were finishing up a 3 in 3 and a 5 in 7 just like Hershey will be finishing tomorrow night.

It was a statement game by the Pens.  Simple as that.

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