Monday, November 21, 2011

Bears Drop 2 in Shootouts

The Bears entered this weekend having not participated in a shootout in the 2011-12 season to date.  They left the weekend 0-2 in shootouts.

Friday they lost to Syracuse in Syracuse.  Wasn't there, didn't watch, didn't listen.  Here are a couple links if you want more on that game:

Tim Leone
Sweetest Hockey on Earth

Saturdays game was back at Giant Center and I was unlucky enough to attend.  Just so we start this out right let me give you the facts:
  • Hershey lost 6-5 in the shootout to Albany,
  • Hershey took a 2-0 lead in the first 12 minutes,
  • Hershey came back from 1 goal deficits 3 times,
  • Hershey went 3 for 5 on the power play,
  • Hershey killed off 3 of 4 penalty kills,
  • Hershey finished with 33 shots...same as Albany.
Oh and Braden Holtby made 3 questionable plays in the first period (one led to a goal)...BUT HE WAS NOT TO BLAME FOR THE LOSS.

By the end of the game the crowd was "cheering" every time Braden made a save and yelling as soon as he touched the puck or, in some cases, even started to leave the crease.

For those of you not in attendance let me recap the 3 plays:
  1. Braden makes an ill-advised pass from the end line across his crease to a defenseman on the opposite goal resulted,
  2. Braden makes an ill-advised attempted clear up the middle and hits a Devil player in the goal resulted,
  3. Braden plays the puck behind the Bears net and gets trapped by two Devils forwards before turning it over...and the Devils scored.
The first two plays were bone-headed but he got lucky.  No harm done.

The last play was just unlucky.  Should he have cleared the puck faster?  Yes, I will agree with that.  But it wasn't like his defensemen were giving him anywhere to go with it.  They were standing damn near right beside him the entire time.  It was a bad play, but it did not decide the game.

From that point on it seemed the crowd was against Mr. Holtby.  The three goals that followed that sure didn't help.

But let's explore those for a second:
  1. Albany player skates down the wing throws a pass to the front and it is deflected in by a Devil's forward (Gelinas according to the score sheet), 
  2. Albany player skates down the wing (sound familiar yet) throws a pass to the front and it is deflected in by a Devil's forward (Bernier according to the score sheet),
  3. Albany player gets the puck beyond the end line and passes to a WIDE OPEN Tim Sestito standing at the tip of the goal crease. 
The first two were good plays by the Devils that could have been prevented, in my opinion, by a defenseman.  Had someone tied up the stick of those players they more than likely would not have scored.

And the last goal...unbelievable.  It wasn't even a penalty kill...nope this was 5 on 5 (read: everyone should be covered) hockey and the 2 defenseman on the ice at the time (McNeill and Wellar according to the score sheet) were honestly just standing on either side of Sestito.  Both could have touched him if they reached over there and yet neither did. 

To blame Holtby for any of those goals is ludicrous.  Two of them were impossible to stop tip ins that probably shouldn't have happened, but in truth they were both nice plays by Albany.  The last one...that was just plain poor defense. 

So while I know it is easy to blame a goalie when a team gives up 5 goals it was surely not all Braden's fault in this one. 

I have much more I want to say about the goaltending situation (among other things) in Hershey this season but I will save it for another day when I have more time.  Obviously the situation is lacking right now, but I have a theory that I want to look into before I offer an opinion.

In addition to that...there is a Wednesday game this week.  Preview coming soon.


Rob said...

The second Devils goal was unexceptable at any given level. Braden Holtby is to blame completly on it happening. There is nothng wrong with him coming out of his net to play the puck.. but here's the problem.. AFTER the puck is turned over he takes his sweet old time getting back into his net, and the puck goes right in. He raises his arms like a little kid, it was just a great example of how awful a character Holtby is. There were a few things he could of done to prevent the goal.. like the fact there is 10 seconds left in the period.. KNOCK THE NET OFF.. TAKE A PENALTY.. THAT'S ACTUALLY A GOOD PENALTY B.C YOUR DENYING A GOAL..He gave soo little effort getting back into his net after turning the puck over it was disgusting.. Let's be honest here.. He doesn't want to be in Hershey anymore.. he thinks he is an NHL goalie after making goaltender of the month in March.. I know their defense is under par, but Holtby has to do a better job carrying this team. If Holtby continues to slump there is no playoff run for us. Yes, I said continues to slump. He was amazing for us Oct.-Mar. last season.. we know what he is capable of.. but he continue to proves that he doesn't care anymore. The fact some people continue to defend him is ludicrous.. stats don't lie, and neither do his actions in recent games.. Even the playoffs last year there were moments when he could of given aleast a better effort.. That's all a Bears fan wants, an outstanding effort.. Bottom line.. he's not the same goaltender he was last year that made me bow down to him.. He needs an attitude change big time!

GM said...

I agree that it was his fault. I said it was a bad play...and it was. But that doesn't mean the rest of the game was his fault...which was my point. After that goal is was 2-2 with 2 full periods to play. If the defense steps up their game and covers guys cutting to the net and/or standing in front of the net then Albany doesn't score again.

Granted, they were all nice plays by Albany but the defense could have done more. Could Braden have stopped them? Maybe. They were excellent plays that required exceptional side to side movement. If he (or damn near ANY goalie) would have stopped them it would have been as much a luck thing as anything else.

As for Braden's attitude...I can't speak to that. I have never talked to him and have never heard anything bad about him. To say that he is playing bad because he is too focused on the NHL is a reach.

Are his numbers as good as in the past? Not right now. But if the NHL is your excuse for Braden then what is the reason for Dany Sabourin??

Dany's career numbers: 2.26 goals against average and .922 save percentage.

Dany's 2011-12 numbers: 2.96 gaa and .907 save %.

The defense is NOT helping the goalies at all right now. Does some blame rest on Dany and Braden's shoulders...absolutely. I have seen soft goals more than once this year. BUT I think the larger issue is a questionable defensive scheme with lackluster execution by the players.

In the last game, which is where this discussion originated, the final three goals were more the fault of lazy defense...not poor/disinterested goaltending.

Rob said...

Yeah I agree with that.. just by looking back on the game highlights on youtube, the defensive coverage in front of the net was terrible.. it has to improve with out doubt.. I think Dany Sabourin is one of those guys who accepts his role as a full time AHL player.. I dont think the NHL is as much of a goal in mind for him as compared to Braden.

GM said...

Agreed. I think Dany still holds out hope that he can become a permanent NHL goalie but I am sure he realizes that he isn't high on anyone's list right now. My main point was that even Dany is having a subpar year so far in 2011-12. Hershey's play in their own end, whether goalies, defense, or forwards, has been atrocious at times this season.