It's the steaming pile Hockey Santa left if your stocking! HO HO HO!
But really, that 5-0 loss to Hamilton was as bad as it gets. The first 18 minutes I felt like I was watching my Monday night drop-in. No offense to those guys, but they're not pros, so they're supposed to miss a bunch of their passes and fumble the puck and shoot wide and low and right into the goalie and on and on...
The Aeros, on the other hand, looked like they haven't skated together in weeks.
The one bright spot was Matt Hackett's play in relief. He kept the game from going up to 7 or 8 to nothing with some unbelievable glove saves and was just "laser" focused on that puck. Best I've seen him play at home.
Outside of that, I could inundate you with stats and misery and whatnot, but Mike Yeo was so good after the game that I think you're better served just reading his post game comments. And this is how you know I love you, because I friggin' hate transcribing.
Two games ago you were up 3-1 in the second. Since then you've been outscored 10-0 which is remarkable. What's happened to this team?
To speak about the last game in Manitoba, I thought we actually played a pretty solid game. I mean, we didn't score any goals, obviously, and we addressed some areas we need to get better. You know, middle lane driving and being more aggressive, getting to the hard areas, but tonight was just embarrassing. That's what happened.
We addressed it, the fact that this is a game that's not easy. It takes a lot of character to make sure you're focused for it. Guy have bags packed and thinking about Christmas, but at the same time, you've got a game to play. We talked about that, what it means to be a pro, and make sure you're ready to play and tonight was embarrassing.
Are you at a point now, you look at your goaltending numbers and Anton's a full goal ahead of where he was in November. Are you at the point where you're going to have to call somebody up from lower to shake it up? (Editors note: Anton's GAA/save % in November was 2.25/0.922. Very respectable. In December, it's 3.65/0.861. Not very respectable.)
You know what, I don't want to blame that game on Anton. We didn't seem to want to touch anybody in front of our net and they had some pretty small individuals tapping in empty netters, so I blame our defense a lot more tonight, and our forwards for a lack of willingness to block shots.
So I'm not gonna put that one on Anton, but I think, as you said, he's not different than Matt Hackett and every one of our defensemen and every one of our forwards. When we get back from this break, we've got a difficult schedule and it's gonna be a grind for a little while but we're gonna have to become better. Because where we're at right now is not good enough.
We can say that we're heading in the right direction but obviously we've taken a step backward. And this is the time of year when winners are made, I believe, when things are at their most difficult, how do you find a way to get yourself prepared, how do you find a way to make sure you're ready to come to the rink and battle, how do you find a way when things aren't necessarily going your way to come out and bring it. And that's something that we have to learn.
Is this 6 game stretch where you're 1-5, is this the worst the team has been? I mean, are you playing worse now than the first time you had that 6-game slide?
Yeah. I mean, I'm disappointed with the schedule, with the fact that we've had 3 practices this month. That part is frustrating for me and I have seen a slip in our game. I can accept a bit of a drop in your execution, I can accept a bit of a drop in the detail. We lost the game in Manitoba because of a minor detail. What I cannot accept and will not accept is a lack of effort and compete. We didn't lose that game tonight because of execution or systems. It was [because] that team had more heart, more preparation, more will to win the game than we had.
And the part that's disappointing, and apparently we haven't learned, and the part that's cost us the games that we're up 3-1 and other games and even the start of games is a lack of will, when you come into the game be ready to battle, and absolutely compete and try to outwill the other team. And that's the only way that we're going to be capable of doing it. I hope the guys take the time off of the holidays and get rested and get re-focused, because that's what we're going to do.
Is that the detail you were talking about in the Manitoba game where you're up 3-1...
No, the second game. The second game is, you talk about urgency you need in your game and how one play is the difference in the game. 0-0 game and you make one mistake the puck ends up in our net. So, it's something I do believe the young players still have to learn but at the same time, first and foremost, you have to be ready to compete.
Is that also the same deal, we've noticed the penalty kill has gotten quite a bit off. Same thing?
More than anything else, you look at their penalty kill tonight and why were they successful? They must have blocked about 15 shots. And if you're willing to get in front of shots and lay down and fight and do whatever you can to get that desperation to keep the puck out of your net, more often than not you're gonna find a way to win that face-off, you're take a hit to clear the puck, and you're gonna find a way to get in front of that shot and block it. And if the puck does get in front of the net and there's a 1-on-1 battle with a loose puck right there, you're gonna outwill your opponent and make sure he doesn't tap it in the net. And that's something that we better find... quickly.
Preach on, Yeosie.
But hey, gang, it's just hockey. With that in mind, go enjoy your family and food and presents and vacation and whatnot for the next few days. That's the stuff that matters in the end.
That and reading T3I religiously. ;)
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it. Have a nice week to those who don't. We'll see you on Boxing Day.