Boy, there's a whole heap of discontent going around this organization, isn't there?
Unfortunately, I'm not bringing much good news here. While I don't exactly have the time or stamina to outline 99 problems, there are a few bones I would like to pick with the way the Crunch is performing. As our Excellent Editor pointed out last entry, it seems like there's a rather eerie pattern emerging on both sides of the country. From what I've read around the web, both teams are struggling in the same ways. Although the two teams are clearly learning the same system, it still seems strange that their problems mirror each other so directly.
Just how directly?
Current record: 7-6-2-1
Divisional standing: 4th
Conference standing: 12th (top 8 make the playoffs)
Top producer: Patrick Maroon (8G, 9A)
Most goals: Kyle Palmieri (10 G, 4A)
Roster moves during the last two weeks:
- J.F. Jacques (LW) went up to ANA and then came back
- AHL/ECHL player Ryan McGinnis (D) was signed to an AHL contract
- AHL/ECHL player Michael Ratchuk (D) was signed to a PTO. (From his Twitter, it sounds as though he's been released)
- Nick Bonino (C) was returned to get himself back into shape after his knee injury
- Nate Guenin (D) was called up and has not been returned
- Peter Holland (C) was returned
- AHL/ECHL player Derrick LaPoint (D) was signed to a PTO, but released after two games
Problem: Goaltender Iiro Tarkki is fantastic, goaltender Jeff Deslauriers scares the pants off us
Commentary: Coming into this season, Crunch fans were leery of Tarkki, as he was one of the few "unknowns" facing us. Although he came with a stellar recommendation from the Anahiem organization, the fans were gun shy after last year's goaltending debacle that left us floundering and frustrated. Tarkki, however, has proven to be as solid as a brick wall. His clear vision and acrobatic saves have sometimes been the only exciting thing worth watching. He gives us something to cheer for many a night, no matter what the rest of the team is doing. The problem is that he can't play ever game. As much as we'd like to ride him until the wheels fall off, that just isn't a good developmental strategy. (See: Steve Mason and the CBJ organization)
While Tarkki's out there being fantastical, Deslauriers, someone we thought was going to be our number one, is riding the pine and getting rusty. This clearly shows when he does finally get a chance to play. Friday night, Tarkki stole a win right out from underneath Hershey's nose. Saturday night, during his first start in five games, Deslauriers made a few amazing saves but then couldn't stop the easy ones from getting by him. We need him to be more predictable, more stable when he plays. Yea, it's hard being the back up, especially as he probably wasn't expecting to be in that position. But this is hockey. Someone has to sit while the other plays.
Problem: Swiss-cheese defense
Commentary: Holy SOG, Batman. Although I'm rather hard on Deslauriers, I'll be the first to admit the blame needs to be spread around a bit. Our defense has not been giving our goaltenders the support they deserve at all. In the past two weeks, the SOG for the other team have been as follows:
|Team (parent club)||SOG|
|Adirondack Phantoms (PHI)||42|
|Hershey Bears (WASH)||41|
|Rochester Americans (BUF)||44|
|Albany Devils (NJ)||37|
|Adirondack Phantoms (PHI)||28|
|Crunch SOG||team vs.|
|27||Adirondack Phantoms (PHI)|
|28||Hershey Bears (WASH)|
|24||Rochester Americans (BUF)|
|20||Albany Devils (NJ)|
|28||Adirondack Phantoms (PHI)|