|Photo by Chris Jerina/AHLinphotos.com|
Maybe they should change the name of the Toyota Center to the Entenmann's Arena for all the turnovers we saw out there tonight.
The Stars first goal was clearly an issue of the Aeros defenseman needing to cut Jordie Benn's pass to Scott Glennie, who was waiting in the weeds and essentially had an open net as Hackett was having to respect Benn's threat.
I mean really, what are defensemen for if not to prevent cross ice passes 4 feet from the front of the crease? Young Cuma will get an earful on that in film review next week, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, the game winner was a turnover right next to the net, and again it was the Cuma/Penner defensive pairing. I didn't see who turned it over there in the corner, but it wasn't a good game for those guys. It wasn't a good game for lots of guys.
That's, frankly, my biggest concern about this team right now. Three quarters of the forwards seem to make smarter defensive plays than the actual defensemen. Prosser can't get back here fast enough.
Torchetti was pretty pointed in his comments to us after the game. He didn't specifically throw anyone under the bus, but he said he didn't have four lines tonight who were committed to playing the game right.
"It was almost the same game as last week. The bottom line is you can't play with three lines, we only played with three lines tonight. We had one line take the whole night off. We've got to get better effort from all 20, not just 15 skaters," Torchetti said.
He was happy with the comeback and the tenacity by the guys who were on board, however, but it came back to the need for every line to battle consistently, which would have allowed the Aeros to at least lose the game in the shootout (kidding, kidding... sorta).
"It's a good comeback! That's the best part. I loved our comeback. I loved our work ethic in the third. Maybe the second half of the second, saw changes in momentum with puck possession and shots on the net and changing our lines," Torchetti said. "Then to give up a goal on just a simple... we've got to be willing to sacrifice more ourselves in those areas and just hold on to the puck and let them battle for it instead of just giving it. It's just frustrating, giving up points."
Torch was in fine form tonight, so I'm just going to serve you the rest of his quotes neat:
"It's a situation where you've got to understand with certain people not in the lineup any more, your ice time improves incredibly. So your amount of touches improve by probably 10 more times. So, you've got to learn how to play tired in certain situations and just hold on to the puck, instead of just throwing the puck away because you're tired.
You have to think tired; that's the name of the game. So we've got a lot of guys still in positions that they're not used to playing as much. Where they were 5s and 6s here last year, now they're in the top 4. They have to understand, if they want to make the next jump, if they want to be an NHL player, you've got to be on the spot with your handles."
Do you feel like the points are coming?
"Yeah, I'm not going to argue with you about that, but I expect four lines after three days off. A little harder. I expect more from certain players because that's what's expected from our organization. We've got guys who want to go play in the NHL and you can't show up and play like that and expect to go play in the NHL tomorrow if they call you up. That's the bottom line for me."
Any chance of a line change-up?
"We pretty much had a wholesale change-up (in the third). Hack played great, and their goalie played great, but again we've gotta get traffic in there. He made a couple of nice toe saves there with, like, two minutes left to tie it up. We got a point. We're learning lessons as we get points. When you're not getting points and not learning lessons, then you gotta start to worry."
Why is the home record so much worse than the road record?
"It's kinda like a shootout, if you guys know, let me know. We're certainly trying. We're trying everything. We're already ready. I mean, maybe we're thinking, alright, we practiced the shootout yesterday and we relax. But it's not a good play to give that play that low when we had the puck. When you have the puck, it's YOUR puck.
And we talked about this behind closed doors, we've had the puck on probably 80% of the goals we've given up. I don't mind if a guy comes in and has an incredible forecheck and runs you over and beats you to the puck, and.... makes a great play. Other teams are going to make great plays, but we can't make the plays for them. That's what I'm disappointed in."
Now the boys hit the road, only returning to Toyota Center ice on Dec. 8 for the ear-splitting, always crazy kids day game.
It was largely a pretty boring game with not a lot of great chances on net, other than a few bursts of nearly playoff-like hockey that were pretty great. Props to Hackett for that sick glove save late in the third that he put a little something extra on. That woke me up a little, for sure, but I'm a ridiculous sucker for a flashy glove. More, please.
I'll try to keep you up somewhat on what's happening on these road games, maybe even in a timely manner!