Monday, April 24, 2006

Those who do not learn the lessons of history...

...are doomed to repeat them.

I get to play golf with my dad around once a year. We usually spend about five hours wearing out the little pencil as we try and tally our triple digit scoring. It never fails that on the drive home, Dad remembers the one mechanical error in his swing that surely cost him his 85. Oh, I was too quick on the backswing, or Oh, I was hitting off my front foot. Yeah Dad, that's the ticket. I just attribute my poor golf to Dad's genetics and the fact that I only play around once a year.

Unlike the myriad issues with my Dad's golf game, what went wrong for the 'Canes on Saturday night was pretty simple. The Habs were initiating and the 'Canes were reacting. To win tonight and even the series, Lavvy's boys need to:

  1. Take away time and space. Alexi Kovalev is deadly when he can skate freely and pick his shots. Close on them, hit them, make them do a Tverdovsky and turn over the puck. Own the slot on both ends of the rink.
  2. Create time and space. Get the *&?!*%$?!! puck moving before the Habs can clog the passing and shot lanes. Get it out of the zone and start the breakout before they can transition from O to D. Saturday night reminded me of an Euro-league soccer game. The 'Canes kept fiddling and turning circles in their own end in a vain search for the perfect pass opportunity that never materialized.
  3. Don't assume Mary Gerber has the psyche to bounce back instantly from adversity. Don't sit and watch him melt down in the hope that he will work it out. Cam Ward is the goalie of the future. Let's find out what the future holds. What, are you going to wait until you are down 3-nil and in last gasp mode? If Marty is not on, get Cam in there. Then you can go back to Marty when it's dawn at the Alamo. His psyche might work better when he knows he's the only hope. Remind him of great moments in Swiss history where somebody overcame great odds to win a great victory...Uh, all I can think of is William Tell. Not sure how to make that analogy fit.
Looking at the forum today, it appears that the boys are still loose going into tonight's tilt vs. the Habs. Great practice pics there as well compliments of Ice Saber. Practice observer, SoCalcaniac, reported that the forward lines at practice broke down as follows:
  • Stillman/Staal/Cullen
  • Williams/Brind Amour/Ladd (LaRose mixed in)
  • Whitney/Weight/Recchi
  • Cads/Kads/Vasicek
I'd like to see Joe Vasicek sit and stew a little in the rafters. Since his stellar return on that Monday night, he hasn't been a factor. When a big, fast and mean guy with great hands can remain invisible for an entire game, something's not right. Chad LaRose is a hustling little bugger. He's got hands of stone, but he brings energy to each shift that never hurts.

I'm more interested in the blueline going into tonight. I don't expect to see somebody sit in favor of Anton Babchuk or Spicoli Hutchinson, although Hutchinson might add a needed spark to the PP. Babchuk is still a work-in-progress, so I don't see a net gain in swapping him in for anybody but, Hello, Tverdovsky (to be spoken like Seinfeld used to say, Hello, Newman...").

Today is number two son's birthday. Won't see much of the game tonight. Tonight will be all about ice cream cake, Power Rangers, and Sonic the Hedgehog.

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