Archive for February, 2013

On Last-Minute Goals Against

We were with non-Wingnut family during the game yesterday so we only caught the last few minutes.

It was enough to see Joakim Andersson nearly stop the tying goal from behind Jimmy Howard. My initial reaction to the replay was of course disappointment that the break had gone the Kings’ way. Then it hit me: “why was Andersson out there?”

I’ve checked the play-by-play and there wasn’t a faceoff that I forgot about. Andersson was sent over the boards at 18:45 in live play, closing in on the final minute of a one-goal game. He was replacing Valtteri Filppula and joining Abdelkader and Miller, who had already been out there 43 seconds by that point. The Kings were pressing.

This is a kid with 7 NHL games under his belt. A good kid, who has done pretty well for himself with the Griffins. But not a kid who has any business being on the ice in the final minute of a one-goal game.

Guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg had been off the ice for nearly 1:20 at that point. That’s who you send out if you can manage a one-player swap when the opposition is pressuring.

These are the moments where I don’t understand Mike Babcock. I understand his interest in testing people in higher pressure situations, which is why you put Brian Lashoff on the penalty kill pretty much right off the bat after he gets called up. But the final minute of a one-goal game is when you put out guys that can hack it. It’s not the time to test a rookie.

That Jonathan Ericsson won the game with a trickle-through with 4 seconds left does not validate this strategy. That’s just luck.

David Backes on Jan Mursak

Not the dirtiest hit you’ll ever see, but this is the kind of crap we’ve come to expect from Backes. Not the kind of thing that necessarily leads to fines and suspensions; just close enough to the line to develop a reputation among people who are not Blues fans.

Well, at least among fans of Central Division teams.

Okay, maybe just Red Wings fans. I can’t speak for the others.

Thanks to @Weallbleedredd (here) and @Muero for posting footage of the hit.

David Backes is Still a Loser

Despite the fact that it was a completely inaccurate call, David Backes is still one of the underrated dirty players in the League. Just ask Jan Mursak.

One thing of note in that replay, though: note in the view from behind Huskins how Backes half leaves his feet and elevates contact. Maybe a failed headshot as much as it was a failed headshot call.

I do think I’d rather see blown calls like this than real head contact go uncalled. The NHL has to get rid of head contact or it will follow football’s long term trajectory. Of course, the NHL isn’t getting it right in either category and ideally they’d always only call real headshots. But this isn’t an ideal world.

As I was reminded last night for having the gall to call David Backes a dirty player (and a donkey):

Jonathon Schad, I’m going to do what I can to ensure this comes up should any future employer run a search on you. Enjoy college.