Monday, May 23, 2011

Playing Not To Lose (No-Doze Not Included)

So if you the average hockey fan turned on the NHL Network in the USA on Sunday night expecting to see Day Three of the 2011 Memorial then boy you were badly disappointed.

Take 1 team which had lost 5 out of their last 6 games (including a deciding Game 7 at home) and match them up against another team who was spanked 5-0 the night before and you really had trouble staying awake.

No it was not a 1999 New Jersey Devil Super Trap game but host team Mississauga St. Michaels Majors taking on the Kootenay Ice. Two teams who gave the sadly all too typical "Playing Not To Lose" brand of game that hurts hockey every time a game like this happens.

Playing not to lose is really trying your best to in fact lose but the Majors made 1 less mistake than the Ice and were able to hang on for a 2-1 win that evens their Memorial Cup record at 1-1. The Ice who are the WHL Champions are 0-2 and hanging on for dear life at the moment.

Kootenay actually took the lead 1-0 off a power play goal at the 7:55 mark of the 1st period but Mississauga tied the game just 1:23 later on an even strength goal. From that point on it became a battle of who was the least inept.

A scoreless 2nd period carried over to the 3rd period and the thought of this game becoming an overtime affair was starting to scare us. Thankfully the 5429 hostages (oops we mean fans) were rescued from that horror of a fate when Mississauga scored at 11:51 to take the lead and eventual win 2-1.

But this was a game that the CHL needs to burn all tapes of it so Paul Kelly and College Hockey Inc does not use it to convince prospects why NCAA hockey is more entertaining. The only consolation we had was the pause button which allowed us escape so we could make "Free The Buzzing The Net Crew" signs if the game went to overtime.

Mississauga put on their very best New York Ranger power play going 0 for 6 including failing to convert on two 5 on 3 opportunities. It has to be very frustrating for the Mississauga fans watching their team which dominated the OHL all season long forgetting how to win.

Kootenay can find plenty of excuses as nobody expected a 4th place team to win the WHL to begin with but as people will tell you Karma has a way of catching up to you. Kootenay got the benefit of some suspect calls in the WHL finals found itself on the receiving end thanks to a 1 game suspension of their captain Brayden McNabb.

Forgive us if we do not feel bad for the captain of the 2012 Canadian Olympic diving team as McNabb's head shot to Owen Sound's Joey Hishon was much worse than anything the Portland Winterhawks got called for.

How sad though for the CHL to get 2 chances to showcase themselves live in the USA and wind up with a blowout and clunker. Even sadder when Saint John and Owen Sound are going to go at it on Monday with the winner earning an almost guaranteed free ride to the Memorial Cup finals.

Mississauga may be 1-1 and maybe they have been looking past everyone focusing instead on their rematch with Owen Sound on Wednesday are not playing anything like the team that rolled over everyone. The Majors really are looking more like they are scared to make plays out of fear it will cost them.

Taking away all the smart ass remarks, this really was nothing like what kind of performance either team was capable of giving. These two are very good teams who just put on a very weak performance that for many who do not watch CHL hockey will have the wrong idea of.

Monday as we noted is the Saint John/Owen Sound match up which is going to go a long way in deciding which team gets the bye to the finals. Owen Sound could be missing their leader Joey Hishon but we still like Owen Sound in this game.

Kootenay gets a badly needed day off before facing Saint John in an elimination game for them on Tuesday. Mississauga is off until Wednesday before facing Owen Sound so here is hoping that at least 1 NHL conference final is finished as soon as possible so the Memorial Cup games can be shown live in the USA again.

Anyone want a "Free Sunaya" or a "Keep Neate" sign?


Kmp said...

Jess disagree on the Missiauga Kootenay game. Yes the third period tightened up, but it was a game where every check was finished and good hard nose hockey.

Have to agree with your season long assessment on Cizikas, Ilses have another good one on the way. Hard checker, plays vs other teams best line, pp, pk he does it all.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Fair enough, I guess I had my fill of Kootenay and Mississauga trapfests that I have watched over the last couple of months.

Got to give the Islanders some credit as they have found some good players to help fix their franchise.

Cizikas, Donovan, Lee, Gregoire and DeHart are the guys I think can help them just as much as the top picks