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Halak Forces Game Seven, and Hey, The Bruins Un-Sucked

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The Washington Capitals chucked 54 shots on Jaroslav Halak, and scored once.  Which can be frustrating.

As a forward, playing a goalie who’s kinda on fire is a funny situation to be in.  And not so much “haha” funny as much as “this milk smells funny”.  What are you supposed to do?

A common problem is that as a team, you’re usually too busy patting yourself on the back for generating so many shots to realize it’s time to switch game plans (but you hope your coach isn’t).  I mean, something has to go in eventually, right?  You think you’re really taking it to your opponent.  You think you’ll break him sooner or later if you just keep it up.  Throw it on net, throw it on net, throw it on net.  But there’s something different in the mindset between trying to score and just trying to get shots, which is all dumb coaches think they want you to do (see also: “shooooooot”-yelling fans). 

In these situations, the scorer’s mindset needs to be all about “getting to the foul line”.  As in, the type of shots you need to take on a piping hot Halak aren’t three pointers or give and go’s.  Remember, if you’re Washington, giving up three pointers is YOUR goalies specialty.  You have to recognize he’s on fire and get dirty.  You need to be on the glass, getting rebounds, banging by the hoop, and putting yourself in situations where even if you don’t score, somebody has to hack you to stop you.

If the tendy can battle through that for the rest of the game and hold on, hey, sometimes you just lose to a guy who’s on top of his game.  Also, in this situation, you may want to approach your teammate Alex Semin and see if he can take a few minutes out of his day to take his head out of his own ass.  Just, y’know, as a personal favour to you.


Clearly, I underrated Montreal (overrated Washington?) when I predicted this series would be over in three.  Halak and Cammalleri are two of the playoffs top performers so far (I’ve been suuuper impressed with Cammalleri’s shot – can’t say I watched a lot of Habs games this year), but I’m still not in the “Montreal is good” camp, or the “Montreal has a chance in game seven” boat.  But hey, they’re doing their thing, so “big ups” to them.

Last thing on this series: what a great diving call on Laperriere last game.  As a perennial Lady Byng style player (yeah yeah, nothing to be proud of), that sort of thing drives me bonkers, because I can’t imagine trying to do that.  I can’t even crawl inside the guy’s head to see what that skeezy thought process must be like.  It’s just another reason to love golfers who call penalties on themselves, isn’t it?  What a rat.

*****

Okay, so I ate shit on predictions yesterday.  One for three.  Buuut, you can’t stop me from making more.  I’m like a weatherman.

*****

I was gonna bash it, but I think I like it – I’m gonna start using the phrase “after the jump” like every current writer.  More on that after the jump.

*****

Just kidding, I’m not talking about it more.

So! 

The Bruins beat the Sabres.  Here’s why the Bruins might actually not be that bad:

Boston was a top seed last year. 

And the B's go on...

Okay, they lost Phil Kessel and, um, Chuck Kobasew, but their young studs like Krejci, Bergeron, Lucic and Wheeler all have an extra year of NHL experience. Your offense isn’t that different.

Contrary to what Detroit fans would have you believe, it was Boston who “led” the NHL in man games lost to injury this year.  We didn’t see a whole lot of healthy Marc Savard this year, and the guy happens to be one of the leagues premier goal scorers.

Their goaltending actually got better.  Tuuuuukkkka Rask played over half the games in Boston this year, and led the league in GAA and save percentage (1.97 and .931%).

Maybe they’re not a top seed, but they way they played down the stretch made you forget that maybe they can be good.  It’s crazy that they made round two after how they looked at times this year.  I desperately need Montreal to get eliminated, so teams don’t think it’s possible to be THAT BAD in the last few weeks of the year and still make the second round.  Wait, Philly already did that too?  Damn.

*****

Detroit and Phoenix play game seven tonight in Glendale.  Can’t wait!

Comments

26 Responses to “Halak Forces Game Seven, and Hey, The Bruins Un-Sucked”
  1. tomo says:

    i’m not an expert but boston’s top offensive threats are Miro Satan and Grandpa Recchi. that’s apsurd.

  2. KarenfromRochester says:

    Justin, I’m officially jumping on the Coyotes bandwagon after the Sabres broke my heart last night. !@#$@$#%Boston! I’m sick of Detroit being in the finals and I would love to see Phoenix take em out. Maybe tonight it won’t be as sad at my house as it was last night. : O ) aaannnd, how convenient the game starts right after I get home from a meeting tonight, so I won’t miss any of it. Thank you time zones!

  3. Rafal Ladysz says:

    Hey Justin, what’s going on? Enjoying your posts, but since when is Savard a premier goal scorer? He’s never even cracked 30; all about the assists. Maybe you meant to say premier playmaker.

  4. dwgs says:

    I almost started chirping in yesterday’s comments section last night looking for at least a smidge of respect for the Habs but decided to have another Bushmills instead. So I’ll take today’s smidge as a (small) reward.
    Not like I had any expectations for my team coming into this but all the predictions of ‘Caps in 3′ (you weren’t the only one) combined with the Caps treating this series as an afterthought were a bit grating.
    Now no matter what happens tomorrow at least they’ve salvaged some pride. And if the unthinkable happens and Halak stands on his head again well it’ll be time for a new bottle of Bushmills.
    Cheers.

  5. JD says:

    I gotta say I am surprised by Boston. They could be dangerous in round 2, especially if Savard is effective (as a playmaker, not a premier goal scorer – which you probably meant to say). It’s interesting though in that these playoffs are an illustration of how different playoff hockey is. The Caps scored goals in the regular season like it was summer shinny, ran over the eastern conference, and yet they find themselves in game 7. Boston could not put the puck in the net to save their life (I bet the Zamboni guy was sick of kicking them off the ice after practice when no one could get to 5 to win their 4 on 4 games) but based on the way they play they are in the 2nd round. It’s just bizarre that playoff hockey is a different sport than regular season hockey. It’s also why I think Jumbo Joe struggles in the ploffs so much. His game is predicated on slowing down the pace to a level where he can control the play and the tempo in the offensive zone. In the playoffs guys are just too geeked up to let that happen and he becomes ineffective at the faster pace.

  6. jtbourne says:

    Tomo – Apsurdly, its also not really true.

    I forgot to mention – How about Pitt finishing 4th and getting two-seed-esque home ice… 1 seed if the Caps lose. Crazy.

    Rafal – great point. Premier offensive forward I guess. Surprised to hear he’s never cracked 30. Like, really surprised. Huh.

  7. Travis says:

    If the Habs win game 7 what will be the average time/speed every hockey writer reinforces their pick for the Pens (boo!) to come out of the east?

  8. jtbourne says:

    Can I make a preemptive strike? If the Habs win game seven, I think Pittsburgh will come out of the East.

    Dude, a Philly/Boston second round of playoffs would be like watching a tournament on the Gateway tour – “wow, these guys are quite good. Not as good as the real players, but maybe someday.” Neither of them deserve that break this year.

  9. Firestorm says:

    “…You have to recognize he’s on fire and get dirty. You need to be on the glass, getting rebounds, banging by the hoop, and putting yourself in situations where even if you don’t score, somebody has to hack you to stop you…”

    Today’s guest blogger: EVERY COACH YOU EVER PLAYED FOR!

  10. RewskiUVA says:

    I’m a caps fan. I now know how Canada felt after the olympic round robin upset. I can barely talk/think/eat/sleep. I may be legally comatose before too long and I’m pretty sure it’s actually raining pigs outside.

    On another note, how can we convince Obama to go to game 7? I mean, its his home team!

  11. jtbourne says:

    Ulgh, and daggers from Firestorm…

    Hey, just cause I hated the advice, doesn’t mean it wasn’t right. Sigh….

    RewskiUVA – Love the idea, but last I checked, he’s going for the bill-signing Guiness record. Hopefully he’s working on a new law that makes teams play weekday day games so I can have something on in the background while I type.

  12. RewskiUVA says:

    I hope he’s also working on immigration reform to keep Slovakian born professional athletes (Halak) from visiting the country.

  13. mikeB says:

    Earlier you said that Washington can play well and win or play badly and lose. Washington played well last night and lost.
    Do I think that they win game 7? No.
    Do I want them to? Yes.
    Is the best argument for Mike Green winning the Norris Trophy “Because he didn’t win it last year”? Yes, but he still shouldn’t win it this year, last year, or probably ever. (I know its unrelated, but the point still stands)

    And for any Flames fans out there; how does the pocket change you got from the Rangers for Olli Jokinen look compared to Mike Cammalleri, your best player last season?

    I’m pulling hard for the ‘yotes tonight. It would firebomb the other teams in my hockey pool. If the Habs won too, I can picture myself on the easy street to cashville.

  14. tomo says:

    justin, are you asking me or are you telling me ?
    just kidding, but Miro and Grandpa have 5 points each in first round games, which makes them top scorers on bruins team. also miro has 2 game winners. and thats only stats talking.

  15. Char says:

    //Tuuuuukkkka Rask played over half the games in Boston this year, and led the league in GAA and save percentage (1.97 and .931%).//

    Really? You don’t say. ;-)

    There really is something to be said about being tested and going through adversity during the regular season. As Claude Julien said after the game last night, hopefully you learn and grow from it.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go practice The Slovakian Dance of Joy in preparation for the next round.

  16. greg says:

    so what’s the prediction for the wings yotes game tonight?

  17. jtbourne says:

    greg – I’ve been avoiding that question like bullets in the Matrix. Gonna keep doin’ that I think bud.

  18. Jimbo! says:

    Sheeesh, JB….nothin to say about my Hawks?

  19. Maria says:

    loooooveeee the insight on the Bruins. Its really hard to believe how different the playoffs are compared to the regular season. The bruins were THAT close to not even making the playoffs and played pretty good down to the stretch to get to 6th which helped to get matched up against Buffalo and not going to lie I was in slight disbelief when we won last night because I wasn’t excepting them to do as well as they did. I mean we scored goals!! Thats rare! (yet another reason that it blows my mind that we had a winning record this season…its all about goalies! haha) And Savard was cleared to play today so we will have him for the second round and that should be a HUGE boost! Go Bruins! And go phoenix! thatd be an awesome story for that team for sure..

  20. jtbourne says:

    Jimbo! – Ha, feelin’ the time crush with guests in the house this morning. They headed home today, so I’m back at full guns.

    Thoughts: Nashville’s a pretty good team. Any time you can chuck solid forwards in front of one of the league’s best d-pair and a top ten goalie, it’s gonna be tough to put them away. I wouldn’t let going six games stress you out at all.

    I like their situation as much as anyones. Got the playoff switch flipped with a matchup they have to be confident about after last year. More on them later!

  21. heidi says:

    “perennial Lady Byng style player” = laperriere?
    i think you might’ve added an extra syllable there… ;)

  22. jtbourne says:

    Um…. I did?

  23. heidi says:

    didn’t you mean lapierre not laperriere?

  24. Brett says:

    I sympathize with your avoidance of making predictions. I think the problem with predictions is that people don’t really understand how to interpret them. Aside from betting, there’s really no purpose in staking yourself to a claim about what *will* happen in a given game or tournament. There are too many variables that affect the outcome; predictive accuracy simply doesn’t map onto expertise or insight. What’s genuinely interesting is making a claim about what *should* happen in a given game or tournament. Those with more knowledge about the different factors in play will have more nuanced analyses about what the proper expectations are—while granting that those expectations might fail to obtain. Most stories in sports are grounded in expectations failing to obtain. If Ovechkin is expected to be a dominating force on the ice, and then scores a goal and two assists leading Washington to a win, it’s not really a huge story. But if it’s Boyd Gordon instead of Ovechkin, it’s more of a story.

  25. jtbourne says:

    heidi – ha, CRAP, now I see. You’re right.

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  1. [...] As we move closer to round two’s start, I’ve been thinking about a comment the blog received yesterday (totally random thought before I forget – blog hits have been killer for a non-team-specific site.  Almost 9,000 hits last week or something like that, so thanks so much for your support.  And that includes you crazy Maple Leaf fans sent this way via DownGoesBrown).  It’s a valid point on why predictions are interesting to read – basically, it’s fun to assess what’s fair to expect, not what will happen.  The comment is towards the bottom, by reader “Brett”.  Check it out here. [...]



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