Monday, May 14, 2007

Ottawa Goes Up 3-0: Strength Breakdown/Rant of the Week

One thought occured to me as I saw the Senators take the Sabres to school by defeating them 1-0 to take a three games series lead. Everything Buffalo had as a strength during the regular season has been utterly non-existent in this series.

Consider:

Home-Ice: The Sabres had been one of the best during the Regular Season and the Playoffs, but in this series, they dropped the first two at home.

Defense: The Sabres have prided themselves on playing two way hockey and using their speed to beat their opponents. I saw several odd man rushes occur against they tonight. In once case, there was not even a Sabre in site as Meszaros skated in and hit one off the post of Ryan Miller's goal.

Offense: You think Sabres, you think of two things. New jerseys and goals. I said that the series MVP would be Maxim Afinogenov, and if he would chip in more then one goal, he might be. But where is Chris Drury the other 59 minutes and 52 seconds of a game? What happened to Daniel Briere? Sophomore Derek Roy? Thomas Vanek? The list continues, but when you're getting beaten 5-2 and 1-0, something isn't right.

You heard it right. The Sabres were the best team, and the defense and offense were both amazingly balanced strengths.

What usually isn't the case in a series where a team is down 3-0, is the goalie actually playing well. If you look at the games, Miller has given up five goals on 34 shots, four goals on 32 shots, and one goal on 32 shots. When a team gives up over 30 shots three straight times, the defense is failing.

What I didn't mention, is that Buffalo has failed to register over 20 shots 2 of the 3 games in this series. Ray Emery hasn't had to be amazing, just solid.

The NHL's last hope for ratings from America in the Cup is for Detroit to get there and push it to a seven game series in which Steve Yzerman and Terry Sawchuk make returns.

Rant of the Week
As the Playoffs get into the later rounds, refs are "eliminated" as well until only the refs with the best track records are officiating the games. With such as small group, why is there still a gray area when it comes to calling penalties in OT? In the Anaheim/Detroit game, Ryan Getzlaf was hit with a head shot and there was no call. In the next minute, a call for hooking was made. Maybe the head shot went unnoticed, but if it did, why do we have a two referee system?

On the topic, what about goaltender inteference? Hockey is a fast, physical game. Goalies are going to get run into. If a goalie is bumped, it should not be counted as goaltender interference. If a goalie keep his balance, it should not be counted as interference. Why is a goaltender allowed to whack a player screening him in the shins, but if a player so much as taps a goalie, a 2 minute penalty is called.

At the very least, a suitable solution is to change up the time for penalties. For instance, the penalty for shooting the puck over the glass shouldn't be the same as hooking. A one minute penalty would suffice. In the case of goaltender inteference, look at a 1 minute penalty for accidental contact, two minutes for any contact that could have been adverted. They do it for high sticking, why not everything else?

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