Posts Tagged ‘Games’

Our Ducks lost what turned out to be a game of bounces. Games like that stay with you and you replay your own part over in your mind looking for that one that one thing you might have done differently.

As a player you know that you’re not supposed to do this but you can’t change your programming either. What you don’t deal with consciously is pushed into your subconscious. Besides, we all know we learn more from our mistakes than our successes in life.

You think Perry doesn’t want a shot or two back? Or Getz his breakaway? That Palmieri isn’t seeing the knob of Howard’s stick? Or why when Etem successfully drew Howard off the post and again went short side did he ring it off the metal? is it the difference between his forehand and backhand?

So you focus. Not in a self-incriminating way. That truly is destructive. You do it in a clear, objective way searching for the what if I had done something else instead. You ask yourself if you had options.

Sometime today our Ducks will awake in the familiar surroundings of their own beds. Each guy will begin the process of getting ready for Wednesday. The truly pivotal 5th game. Each guy will bring a quiet determination to seize the moment.

A coach does the same thing but he looks at the big picture. Some of the questions Gabby will ask himself are, why did we stop pushing and try to nurse a 1 goal lead? You know the 46 shots were mostly from the low shooting percentage areas of the perimeter. For the most part you know your guys defended well.

Toward the end of this process, coach and player find themselves on the same page. The player knows what’s coming. Lots of puck handling and skill work at practice.

It doesn’t matter how many games or how many series you’ve been through. You never know if you can successfully execute a play and finish a team off until you’ve beaten them.

If not for a couple of fortuitous OT bounces, the proverbial fat lady would have closed the show on these Red Wings last night. There’s no question that our Ducks are the better of the two teams in this series. The only question is are they better enough to prove it.

One way to look at this is the whole league is returning from injury that kept them out for 34 games. Here are a few things you can expect to see in camp and in the early going:

1. Guys who played in Europe and the ‘A’ will be noticeably ahead of players who hung out at scrimmages and/or skated on their own.

2. Adjusting to the ice. It’s much harder for goalies because the angles are all different. The primary and secondary high percentage shooting areas cover more space on the larger European ice surface. For skaters, it’s mostly adapting to the feeling of being hurried on the smaller NA ice.

3. Teams with little roster turnover will have a jump over teams breaking in new players at key positions. Count our Ducks among the latter.

4. Expect 35 or fewer players invited to camp. Maybe fewer than 30 for teams without many roster questions. You will also see a more tryout contracts offered  to the many UFA’s available by teams with unanswered roster questions.

5. Sloppy play! When you come back after a long layoff the hardest thing to get back is your timing and coordination. Give it 5 weeks and a dozen or so in season games before becoming overly judgmental.

Overall, this is quite different from the start of season where everyone is starting even. You’ve got guys coming in from the ‘A’ and Europe who are in game shape playing with and against guys trying to find their legs. Goalies adjusting to angles.

And maybe most of all will be the Refs. Let’s hope there’s an improvement on the uneven and unpredictability of the officiating. Consistency in penalty calling will do more than anything else in returning the game to the players and fans.