There’s an undeniable phenomenon that happens at the end of every team’s season. It happens for teams that are eliminated in the regular season—and it’s even more prevalent for teams that are eliminated in the playoffs. It’s called “The Blame Game.” On an especially early exit in the first round, the fun “Blame Game” always seems to be cranked up another notch from the fans than the media, as their (sometimes) outlandish expectations weren’t met by their favorite team.
The big question is really who gets the most blame and why. Of course, on a hockey club, there are a lot of moveable parts on and off the ice that can contribute to success and failure. Is there one spot that deserves more blame than another? Can there be a quick fix if you get rid of the problem or will that just snowball into more problems? Is there even a problem at all or just a team that hit a string of bad luck? There are usually more questions than answers. But hockey fans always have the answers…
It’s a good thing we, as humans, have the ability to engage in hindsight. Not only do fans have 20/20 hindsight, we also have the ability to be the armchair owner/GM and know EXACTLY what was needed to be done in order to win the Stanley Cup (and sweep every series along the way). Thankfully for everyone, I have been able to channel the thoughts of everyone in order to get a grasp on who is to blame the most for their favorite team faltering for Lord Stanley of Preston’s Championship Cup.
First and foremost, the goalie is the guy who gets the brunt of the punishment. Honestly, how hard is it to actually stop a small piece of vulcanized rubber going at 90 to 100 miles-per-hour with all that padding on? They should have no fear and know where every bounce is going to happen off the opposing player’s stick or his own player’s sticks. They don’t have their head in the game and honestly, despite all the success he brought to our team, they really need to ship him out because he doesn’t win when he counts. Plus, how much longer can he keep holding the back-up goalie from showing the greatness we’ve seen in the 10-12 minutes a game he’s in relief every tenth game. Did you see the game he played against the last place team? He inched out a victory and only let up three goals with no support. He’s going to be a gem as a starter.
Top line sucks
Speaking of the lack of support—why hasn’t our top line been able to actually score on every shift they are out there? It’s insane the chances they haven’t been able to connect on, you almost think they need to shake up the bench in order to wake them up and show them how good they have it. That way, when they’re reunited—boom, instant success. You can’t put a price tag on something like that—the fact that if you split them up, you know how good they’ll have it. Or, they’ll be able to spark those lower lines so we can roll four lines who can hit, score, and just dominate on the ice. You know—split up that first line to make all the other lines better.
Character guys suck
But come on, those grind guys and character players aren’t showing any of that. Sure, they’ve had a full 82-game season to deal with getting beat and broken because they’re setting the tone physically, but it’s the playoffs for Pete’s sake! They need to find that other gear. How do we expect to be successful if our character guys aren’t doing the task they need to do to help us to win. Playoff hockey is all about getting the underdog players to step it up and actually show their true worth for this team. They’re a dime-a-dozen and if they don’t contribute, we need to get rid of him.
Don’t get me started on our defense—they just were pylons out there. With the match-up we had, they should have been able to be a great fortress of solitude back there. Our goalie shouldn’t have to deal with so many shots, but that defense is just trying to do too much offensively that their defensive responsibility is totally not there. Their heads are not in the game and we need to maybe think about getting someone in there who knows how to mentor these guys to play a complete game. They need to know when to pinch, when to stay back, and when to step-up to block shots. It’s sad we can’t have this like other teams do.
You know, that’s our real problem—the coaching. They wouldn’t know a defensive or offensive presence if it bit them in the ass. Look at how our guys are being treated: shuffled around with guys who have no chemistry and the guys who need to be moved are staying in the same spot. I mean, look at our special teams—it’s just passing around on the power play and running around in our own zone when we’re a man down. It’s ludicrous that these guys are trusted with the responsibility to bring this city a championship when they are just lolly-gagging with the lines and completely screwing up what this team had before they showed up here.
General Manger sucks
Though, if he had one or two more guys in our line-up, we could still be in it. That general manager of ours is a joke. Sure, he has a limited amount of money to deal with, but at the same time—why couldn’t he sweeten the pot by saying to the free agents that we’d be contenders? He wasn’t trying hard enough, because at the deadline; we could have made a big splash and shown the rest of the league that we mean business and be able to win on intimidation alone. He needs to go, but you know he’ll fire the coach or trade the players to shave his own butt on this matter. Honestly, get rid of some draft picks for that star character player—it worked on NHL12 for me.
Well, all-in-all, we had a great run. We tried to do what we needed, but now we get to look ahead to next year. I’ve got a good feeling about it, too. With these guys on the ice, the people behind the bench, and the management we’ve got looking out for the fans—we’re due next year.