Although wreckless and should have been tripping, the puck looked like it may have hit the crossbar, bounced down, and stayed near the line from his POV. The trip may have been trying to get to the puck or keep Z from getting to it.
You hate Rafalski. We get it. And you hate Rafalski enough to suggest that Ericsson, who cannot get a shot through traffic to save his life and is too slow to wind up against a penalty kill that challenges shots from the point, should replace him on the first power play unit.
Roger. Glad we are past the whole getting to know you phase.
Ericsson turns the puck over less than Rafalski. Yes, Rafalski has more TOI to give the puck away, but that TOI is more important than the ice time Ericsson gets. I think that the worst that could happen if Rafalski is replaced by E is that we give up a couple short-handed 2 on 1's. WHICH HAPPENS ALREADY!
He has a 100mph shot and he doesn't get to use it. He is paired with Lilja in a virtual shut-down pairing. They are expected to play most of their time in the defensive zone, which is why he doesn't shoot and therefore doesn't score. Rafalski does have those opportunities to shoot and plays with Lidstrom (during 5 on 5s AND powerplays) and doesn't score.
How can a change hurt?
I will concede that attempting this switch on the road in Game 7 is probably not the time to do it. But if they are down in the 3rd and a PP comes up, they should try it.
Well, he definitely contributed on the score sheet. My point is, it was one game. I mean, would you retract your statement if Rafalski scores the GWG Tuesday or even a single goal that results into a win? I'm having a hard time wrapping around your reason for wanting him over Rafalski.
1. hard shot 2. uses it 3. throws an occasional hit 4. salary 5. doesn't eat up ice time that a better player could have simply because it is the general consensus that since he makes 6 million dollars and has 3 Cups that he is better at his job than a player that can do everything he does and occasionally throw a hit at half the price 6. has better understanding of when it is OK to pinch
Right now, I wish we had Schneider instead of Rafalski. The shot on the power-play makes up for all his faults. When he scored I immediately missed him on the team. Only one player on our blueline has a respectable point shot on our PP and we need at least two.
Going into game 7, who would be more dangerous on our D corps?
I love Ozzie to death but I think this was the season that marked the end of his career as a dependable starter. I mean, he's 37. I think Howard's really only let in one softie the whole series - this isn't comparable to 2006 and Legace.
He let in 2 softies in Game 3 alone. The obvious wrist shot to the short side and the one where he was WAY out of position to stop the tap in. And not to mention all the HUGE rebounds he leaves on the most pedestrian of shots that end up in the net.
I think that if your name is not Kronwall or Stuart there is no reason for you to pinch in as a defenseman on the Red Wings when the opposing team has the puck. When I see Brian Rafalski step up on a forward coming at him along the boards with the puck I cringe because only 2 things can happen:
a. The forward decides to play hockey and throws an elbow in his face and continues on past the small heap that momentarily slowed him.
b. The forward chips the puck past him and continues on with speed and another forward, forcing Lidstrom's +/- and legend down.
Ericsson and Lilja don't have the speed to get back of they step up and miss. Lidstrom doesn't hit. Stuart and Kronwall are not as fast as Rafalski, but their hitting ability compensate (meaning they know when they should step up and when it is a mistake).
Pinching in on a potential offensive play is another scenario. However, you must have puck handling ability. Leave that to Lidstrom and Kronwall. Rafalski makes poor decisions when pressured at the line, Lilja isn't offensive minded, Stuart is more defensive minded, and Ericsson should just wait at center ice and prevent break-aways.
The Yotes forwards are fast. If the defense continues to pinch to attempt hits, we will continue to see fast breaks and 2 on 1s.
Can we queue the ones with our guys failing yet? Maybe Howard's pads made of Flubber, a wannabe playmaker making a spinning no-look pass to a Coyote in our zone, or a small, non-hitting defenseman pinching to make a hit and the resulting 2 on 1 (could be anybody. coughRafalskicough.)
Now if the Wings could go out of their way to hit some Coyote players not near the puck we could have a series worth watching and I wouldn't be as pissy this morning.