|As we continue to play the schedule, we also continue to evaluate each and every individual and the progress of the team in general. |
At 3-5-0 we have shown a couple flashes of what our game should look like (Hartford, Bridgeport, 3rd period here versus Lowell) but because that is not enough, it is the difference between a record of 5-3-0 or even 6-2-0. This inconsistency is what drives management and coaches crazy. Because we have "seen it" a couple of times then there is no reason why we can't see it more often.
For those that saw our big come-from-behind win at home against Lowell...our top line caught fire and took it upon themselves to get the job done in the third period. The other lines did their part by playing smart at both ends of the ice to seal the victory. Unfortunately, good as we were in the 3rd in this one, we could not sustain the pressure and struggled the next afternoon in Lowell. They looked fresh and we looked like we had expended all of our energies the night before. Sean Burke was solid in goal but we never got anything going offensively to give ourselves a chance in this one.
It was back to the drawing board this week as we had four days to regroup and prepare for the weekend. We had a very good week of practice that included some hard skating and hard physical work (what I like to call grunt work), lots of teaching and reinforcing and repeating the basics. Had time to work on many of our systems to include our forecheck, mid zone play, both offensively and defensively, defensive coverage and some powerplay and penalty kill work. I liked our work ethic and effort during the week but still "pound away" at getting the execution better in practice all the time, versus some of the time. The veterans know and understand this but the young prospects are still learning the tricks of the trade.
All that said, we need to find a way to get offense from more than just one line. I tweaked the lines in practice this week (a little) to "jump start" a few guys, so I am anxious to see if this works in any shape or form. Kvapil scored his first of the year as did Jones so maybe this will be the impetus for these two. Keller, Cavanaugh, Reid, and Spina are my next projects to get more out of on a nightly basis. Smaby has been our steadiest defenseman and making good progress as a prospect for the TB Lightning. We have not been as steady on the back end as I would like to see, with and without the puck. Better but still needs improvement.
We are facing a tough stretch with Rochester, Worcester and Lowell for last weekend and then it's Portland (11/10) and Manchester (11/11) at home and then off to Portland (11/12) for Sunday. This will be a good test for the Falcons and a great measure on how much work we have ahead in the coming weeks.
'Til next week! Coach Stirling