He’s Human After All.
Another game, another sound beating.
But, that isn’t really the story. I’ve not written because, honestly, I didn’t know what to say. Fortunately I missed the first 2 periods of the game. That’s a rarity for me, but to my own amazement, it didn’t kill me…imagine that! But what that meant was I didn’t see “the pull”. I also didn’t see the goals (although, I’ve since seen the highlights), or the play of the team in the first 7 minutes, in order to fully analyse the situation. But I must say, it both pissed me off (that Leclaire was pulled) and surprised me.
But, since its happening, Ive done a lot of thinking on it. I’ve read the reaction, from both fans and players, and listened to Clouston and Pascal specifically. My conclusion? Clouston is human after all. He’s not a robot, he makes mistakes like the rest of us, and I honestly believe he made a mistake, and he knows it.
Some have concluded his pulling of Leclaire was a clear indication of who he prefers as #1…Elliott. It sure seemed that way to me at first as well, and who knows, maybe that is the case, but I’d like to present an alternate possibility.
In the previous 6 games the Sens have been less than stellar, in fact their record is 2-4-0. A lot of that can be attributed to poor goaltending, on the art of both Leclaire and Elliott, but mostly Elliott.
No doubt this has been on Cloustons radar.
So, with this on his mind, he watched Elliott get lit up by the NYR’s, and by the time he reacted, the game was already out of hand. I suspect he was more than a little frustrated by the end of that game, both with the goaltending, and with himself for having left Elliott in, particularly after seeing Pascal come in and steady the goaltending for the remainder of the game.
Then came the game vs. Carolina. Clouston is smarting after the loss in NY, now watching his team once again play like fools in their own end, and finds himself down by 2 quick goals early in the 1st.
He snapped. He lost his cool. He over-reacted.
Out came Leclaire, in went Elliott, bing, bang, boom, goaltending controversy. I suspect Clouston knows he made a mistake, and Pascal does too. But we’ll see.
At the end of the day I remain convinced Leclaire is this teams best chance at success. Maybe not in the near term, but definitely in the long term. The fact is Leclaire has missed the better part of 2 seasons due to injury, and if he’s going to re-discover his game, it’s going to come at a cost, he isn’t going to do it by practice alone. He has to play, and in doing so he will inevitably struggle at first, the question is, can Clouston accept this? Maybe the real question is, does he have a choice?
I’m not going to read too much into who starts this game, but if Pascal isn’t in very soon, and consistently, it will look like trouble brewing to me.
Let’s save that discussion for a later date.