I didn't make any really specific predictions. Well, ok - I thought we'd be better. Much better. Actually, I predicted we'd face the Kings in the SCF.
So much trouble in our own end. Many nights, you'd think half our team had never had to play in the d-zone prior to this season. We have this strange compulsion to be fancy and complex and make nine passes, or try to carry the puck from behind the net and around nine forecheckers just to gain the n-zone. What happened to smooth, simple, safe, set outlet plays? What happened to crisp, concise first passes? Where'd all that go? Rhetorical questions, I suppose. Lidstrom and Rafalski are gone and our D is young and jumpy and injury prone. And we have Kyle Quincey.
Add to that the injury woes, the scoring woes, the Jimmy Howard woes, the shootout woes, the two-goal lead woes, the two-goal deficit woes, the taking-too-many-stupid penalties woes, the lineup woes (see: Cleary, Dan/Daniel/Danny/Dammit), the we-don't-do-well-with-cameras woes, the we-don't-do-well-with-NBC-broadcasts woes, and, of course, the we-hate-playing-in-our-own-barn woes, and I think it's safe to say that this first half has left a lot to be desired.
The really frustrating thing about it all is that we're a great team when we want to be. Actually, the really frustrating thing is how many points we've left on the table with our TEN shootout losses. If we were merely bad in the shootout, as opposed to mindblowingly godawful, we might be challenging for first in the East right now. If only we were one of those teams that gets by on skill....
Lashoff has been a real pleasant surprise this season. There's been almost zero bitching about him, which is quite frankly amazing. OK he's playing the fewest minutes of all our regulars on D, but he may be carving a niche out for himself - at the very least he's a reliable placeholder till one of the kids plays him off the roster.
Out of intrest, did Smith get an PP time last night with DD out?
Lashoff has quickly become one of my favorites on this team. He knows his role (big, nasty defensive defenseman), and he plays it.
Hi. So, a friend of mine just dropped an interesting trade scenario on me.
In this scenario, Ryan Miller is getting moved this season and the Sabres are getting a massive return for him. And, to help them fill the void in net (because we're charitable like that), we're giving them Jimmy Howard, plus an additional piece or two. In exchange, we get Ott, Moulson, and Ehrhoff, and maybe a useless gentleman's agreement that the first two will re-sign in the summer.
Is this insane, or does it actually make some sense? I can't decide.
Out-shoot them, out-chance them, out-muscle them, out-compete them, flat-out out-play them...and we go into the third tied, because we can't convert on our chances, and the opposing goalie is playing out of his mind.