Way To Go Bro’
Amidst the seemingly never ending trials and tribulations that is Senators goaltending emerged a Tractor. Mike “The Tractor” Brodeur.
When I wrote my last blog entry, in which I threw out to the Hockey Gods a prayer for a “Tractor” to pull this frame deep team from the mud, never, ever, did I envision it taking the shape of Bingo call up and AHL journeyman Mike Brodeur. The Hockey God works in mysterious ways I guess, and I’m not about to look a gift “Tractor” in the mouth.
The Tractors performance wasn’t awe inspiring, it was just plain solid, like one would expect from any tractor. No flash, no extras, just good honest work. And that went a long way to providing this team what it needed to break through. We all spoke about a goaltender needing to steal a game, and, in a way I guess The Tractor did, but not in spectacular fashion, but by giving the skaters in front of him the breathing room to play their game, continue to generate offence, and not feel the compulsion to collapse in front of the net every time the puck entered the D-zone.
I also hope both Leclaire and Elliot took note of The Tractors performance. I hope they take from it to simplify their games, to stop over-playing the puck, to simply square up to the shooters, cover their angles, and make the opposition beat them fair and square, not beat themselves by losing their net.
I have absolutely no doubt, whatsoever, at all, that both Elliott and Pascal will round back into form. The question is how long will it take, and can the team wait for it to happen. For that, I have no answer.
I’ve purposely chosen to not comment on recent developments because, frankly, I didn’t know what to say. Did Wilson deserve to be fired? I don’t know. Will his dismissal improve the play of the goaltenders over the near and long term? I don’t know. Goaltending is not an area in which I have any experience, not even from the most basic levels, so how could I possibly know what impact Wilson had, or his departure will have?
But his dismissal smacked of desperation, which, I guess, is fair enough, because by repeatedly pulling both goaltenders in the past few games, Clouston looked extremely desperate, and the goaltenders looked, in a word, shell shocked.
Both Elliott and Pascal were reeling. Neither looked composed, confident or even competent in any of their “set up” saves. Pascal, in terms of “reaction” saves still looked good, but when he had time to ready himself, he crumbled, a clear sign of mental fatigue, whether due to stress or lack of playing time, I’m not sure, but undoubtedly he’s lost faith in himself and no longer seemed to know instinctively what to do. Let’s hope seeing The Tractor play a simple game relieves him of the mind set that he has to try to play every shot like it’s unstoppable, and instead just relax, be in position, and accept responsibility for doing what he can, not what he cannot. Ditto for Elliott.
Was Eli the root of these struggles? I sure hope so, even if just by proxy, as he’s lost his job, and if it does nothing to improve our two supposed NHL goaltenders, what a shame.
Last nights game was outstanding from an entertainment perspective, and proved that low scoring affairs can be every bit as exciting to watch as run and gun goal fests. Both teams had solid scoring opportunities, both teams played sound defense, and both teams played with some physicality. A great game, outcome not withstanding.
I was very happy to see Camps get the winning goal, in fact, before the goal was scored, Camps was already my first star. I thought he played with tremendous poise last night, provided some outstanding defense, made some huge blocks, played the body down low, and was always ready to jump up into the offensive side of the game. That the pass was from Kovy was also entirely fitting. I thought Kovy was brilliant last night, and wholly deserved to earn recognition on the score sheet fro what was an outstanding 2 way game. He showed tremendous leadership last night, at both ends of the ice, and played a determined game in the offensive zone.
A great team win, much deserved, well earned, and none too soon.
Here’s hoping The Tractor get’s the next start, he’s earned it, but lately, when it comes to goaltenders, I have no idea what this franchise, or it’s head coach, has in mind.