What is “Immorality, Communism, and Peter Horachek, I guess?”
The question, of course is: “How do you stop life’s guarantees of Death, Taxes, and James Reimer in Ottawa?”
Phil Kessel missed the net on a breakaway in the first minute or so of the game, leading directly to the Senators’ first goal by Mike Hoffman. This is why the Leafs can’t have nice things.
Erik Karlsson played a 3 on 1 perfectly and made it 2-0, and by the end of the first it was 3-0 Senators thanks to Mika Zibenajad.
Reimer- who performs better in Ottawa than anything else- didn’t have a great night, stopping 22 of 26 shots. The issue- Bernier’s not playing all that hot right now either- posting a save percentage of .910 or higher just once in his last eight starts. Blame Horachek, right?
To be frank, I doubt Horachek has little to influence on his goalies’ performance. It’s hard to rationalize exactly how he’d do such an act- tear down their confidence in the room before every start? More likely than not, it’s just a bad stretch for both goalies unfortunately coinciding with some poor shooting luck.
David Clarkson and Nazem Kadri late in the second and early in the first, but Karlsson’s second goal with just under five minutes remaining put the game just a little too far for the Leafs to muster a comeback.
JVR scored a late goal, but the Leafs grabbed just one shot attempt over the remaining minute and a half and dropped the game 4-3.
After losing now six in a row and having just three wins in 17 games, this season doesn’t exactly look all that promising for the boys in blue and white.
But the thing is, it’s hard to give up on a season, per se. After all:
The process is there for a decent hockey team at least, but having a stretch like this on an already mediocre season isn’t doing the side any favours. What do you do?
Horachek hasn’t been granted any favours in his brief tenure as head honcho, and even when his team finally scores three and outpossesses the other team strongly, they give up four. It’s not going to get easier heading forward, and he’ll probably take more blame than he should.
Horachek’s trying new things, the numbers look improved, the player usage is working better than Carlyle, it appears. But six losses in a row, that’s tough to swallow for any coach.
Perhaps it’s best for the Leafs to crash and burn like they so often do, and see if a draft pick, a few trades, and more changes to management and the coaching staff will help to turn the franchise around.
But losing sucks. It’s easy to do in theory yet hardest to go through on a consistent basis.
It isn’t often you’ll find me agreeing with Doug MacLean, but he said something in the pre-game of the show that made sense. Paraphrased, MacLean basically said even when your team doesn’t make the playoffs, you’ll take some pride if you finish higher than your rivals despite getting a worse draft pick.
That’s probably why he wasn’t exactly known as the league’s best GM or coach, but I don’t doubt it’s tough for many players to not exactly be thinking about the long term health of the franchise after each game. They’ll be fighting till the end, even if it’s not what they really need.
Clarkson put up a 65% Corsi at even strength, scored a goal and created the offence for another. He’s not worth his deal, but he’s at least contributing a solid amount on offence (that’s 10 goals now) to be a more slightly respectable investment.
- Erik Karlsson is a pretty good hockey player. Hard to believe he’s only 24.
- Bozak looked pretty solid in his minutes away from Kessel, with a 58% Corsi at even strength. Against Clarke MacArthur in all situations, he posted a +4 Corsi. There’s got to be someone else who finds that amusing.
- I fully expect Kessel to be drafted last in the All-Star draft and suddenly go on a tear. They’re doing that still, right?
- Kudos to JVR for potting 20 goals for the third time in his career.
(stats courtesy of @theninjagreg and hockeystats.ca)