What NOT to do Today: Dumb Things

This weekend, I promised to have the breakdowns for a couple of goals from the six Preds-Wings games earlier in the season, but unfortunately school kicked it up a notch and I didn’t have the chance. With my papers out of the way, however, the pressure is on! Today is the first game of the first round series between the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings, and because everyone has a few hours to kill before the game starts, I figured it’s better late than never to throw up one last analysis before the puck drops. Normally I highlight two goals per post, but this one is long and painful to watch, so it needs to be alone. Very alone.

Dear Nashville Predators,

If you do this tonight (or ever, ever again), I will be extremely disappointed in you. You are all better than what we are about to see – even the players at fault for what happened here. Thank God it isn’t November anymore. That was a pretty rough month. You have grown in leaps and bounds since then, and I’m so very, very glad you have. Stay excellent!

Love,
Caroline

(Preemptive TL;DR: Thank God the Preds have changed since November; Blum started it; Tootoo finished it.)

EV Goal: Danny Cleary (4) on Pekka Rinne, assisted by Darren Helm (2).

The video cuts in quickly, so let me catch you up to speed on what has happened in the 60 seconds before this shot (as I’ve deduced from checking out the play-by-play and time on ice stats). These 60 seconds are critical to how bad it is. It’s full of impulse, confusion, and three defenseman on the ice for 40 seconds. Heck yeah. This is gonna be good, y’all.

  • Jonathon Blum is in the deepest poo. He has been on the ice since 17:02, it’s now 16:13, and if you don’t like counting, that is a 49 second shift. And it isn’t over. No sir, he’s stuck on the ice until this goat rodeo is over, and that isn’t for another 16 seconds. Congrats on your 1:03 minute shift, JBlum. I’ve seen longer, but it’s the context of this one that makes it great, because as you will see, this shift (shift, not goal) is entirely his fault. It’s gonna get worse for him, and the actual play hasn’t even started yet!
  • Someone’s about to top Jon Blum. Surprised? Get ready for this – it’s brutal (though there’s still worse to come). Jack Hillen is in the middle of a two minute, fourteen second shift. 2:14. He has been on the ice since 18:17, and will get off the ice exactly 10 seconds from now, at 16:03. Here’s where it all goes to hell.
  • Let me start by saying that this is Roman Josi’s first NHL game. In your first NHL game, you plunk your butt down on the bench and wait for Trotz to tell you when to take a shift. Kevin Klein gets off the ice at 17:02, Roman Josi gets on the ice at 17:02, and I can guarantee you that Roman is absolutely, 100% supposed to be on the ice. Trotz told him to go, and he goed. But guess who else “goed” too? Jon Blum. It wasn’t his turn (’cause Roman just started his 10th shift), but he probably forgot Hillen was out there for the whole period. I thank God that Roman Josi just did his job and got off the ice after 45 seconds, because it was about to get ugly, and Roman shouldn’t have to experience what that’s like.
  • Let’s sum up the Predators: Blum made a really stupid move by forgetting to wait his turn, causing three defensemen (two of whom are rookies and one of whom is an exhausted Hillen) to be stuck on the ice with two forwards while the Red Wings are about to transition! Well freaking done, Jonathon. Geez. No, this doesn’t influence the play directly, but you can be damn sure it influenced the flow of the game and helped the Wings break out of their zone, because one of the Preds defensemen had to play forward, and I doubt he knew exactly how to help prevent breakouts because he isn’t a forward.
  • Think it’s bad now? Hahahahaha.
  • (Oh, and the Red Wings did transition out of their zone, and they are actually just about to change lines right after this screen shot thanks to a really dumb pass by Jordin Tootoo, and a bunch of Preds will get stuck in their own end. Even though they will get two separate chances to prevent getting stuck. Two.)

Hang in there, folks. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride. We have Weber and Fisher (covering for Blum the Bum) on defense with Tootoo backchecking, while Brad Stuart and Justin Abdelkader (who is labeled “TGIF” because (1) Abdelkader is a pain to type out, and (2) he looks like a waiter at TGI Friday’s) break into the zone. Now, before I yell at Jordin Tootoo, I would like to commend him on this take-away. He’s bugging TFIG, and is about to snag the puck from him (aside: I’m admittedly not the hugest fan of the shove he hands out to get the puck, but he does get it, so….). Cool. Good work. Let’s go get mad for probably not the first time this article.

This looks great! Tootoo cleanly steals the puck, Stuart (who’s a defenseman) starts peeling off to cover his butt, TGIF is all “o crap,” and the Preds are about to break out of their zone. Miller is going to pressure Tootoo, but Spaling (who’s hiding outside of the frame) is on it – he’ll cover Miller.

Okay, I’ll give you all a second to get your rage faces ready.

RAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!!!!!! STOP TURNING THE PUCK OVER IN STUPID WAYS!!!! Sigh. Okay, so first of all, Blum finally shows up. (Oh good. We’ve been waiting for you.) Second of all, Tootoo passes the puck perfectly to Stuart. This is terrible, horrible, no good, very bad turnover number ONE of the night. Oooh yeah – there’s another. Just wait. Now, I have to wonder here why Stuart didn’t just meander directly into the Preds zone and take a shot, but maybe he was scared of Shea Weber, who’s lurking in the slot. Actually… I get it now. Never mind.

Luckily for us, Stuart chips the puck into the zone so that everyone on the Wings line can go change. Fresh on the ice, Patrick Eaves (who is 14 minutes away from taking a Roman Josi slap shot to the ear) charges after Blum and the puck. Oh, and Hillen is still on the ice somewhere.

So far so good… Weber’s checking out Eaves, Fisher’s looking in the direction he’s about to start traveling, and Blum is in control of the puck.

Still good… Blum drew Eaves away from the play, and Weber dropped low as an outlet pass (which he receives). Here’s where our second mistake, and Fisher’s first, happens. Mike Fisher is FAR too low. He does not need to be at the goal line. Had he been closer to the hashmarks against the boards, this debacle might not have happened. Anyway, Fish now scoots up the boards, and Weber’s pass directly his his backhand……

……and Fisher fumbles the perfect pass. That is Fisher’s second mistake. That pass was perfect. Don’t screw that pass up! Sigh. Oh, side note: Jack Hillen finally decided to let someone else have a chance to play in the game, and the Predators finally have three forwards on the ice! Welcome, Sergei. It’s been too long. Now that we have three forwards, this should be a routine breakout. Sergei is right where he needs to be (though he could be a little lower), presenting himself as an outlet pass for Fisher (had he not bungled the perfect pass). Eaves is too far away to pressure Sergei, and Clearly is covering Tootoo. Excellent.

But then this happens (Fisher’s third and biggest poo of the shift):

Wait… DIDN’T THIS JUST HAPPEN TEN SECONDS AGO? Yup it did. Damn it, I give up. Fish completely lost the puck and gave it over to a very un-covered Helm. This is why Sergei Kostitsyn (who’s totally out of the picture, by the way) should have been lower. If a forward stays right in the middle of the ice around the blue line during a breakout, you prevent stuff like this happening… stuff like Darren Helm having as much ice as he wants. This is also the moment when Jordin Tootoo decides to make his SECOND terrible decision of the shift: he’s just going to supervise the rest of this play while his man (Danny Cleary) breaks for the net. Alone. Meanwhile, Mike Fisher makes his FOURTH mistake of the shift: watching Darren Helm. I realize that when Helm caught Fisher, Helm was closer to the net and had the jump on him, so Fisher would have had to really move it to get back in touch with Helm… and that’s not an unrealistic expectation. But Fisher just glides alongside him.

Here, we can see Jonathon Blum doing the only semi-helpful thing he does this entire shift: trying to do Mike Fisher’s job. Maybe he was cashing in on the IOU he owed Fisher for covering him on defense earlier in this fiasco. I dunno. But a solitary pat on the back to Blum. Then more glaring. Tootoo continues to stand around and watch Helm and Cleary do work.

Sigh.

Well, here’s the good news, and actually a decent part of the reason why I chose such a terrible, terrible goal to analyze right before the first playoff game against this very team:

IT CANNOT GET WORSE THAN THIS.

Seriously, I can’t think of any way to make this worse. Maybe if they had turned it over a third time? Maybe if Blum just stood in the corner instead of trying to cover Helm? Maybe if Roman Josi had stayed on the ice instead of letting Sergei Kostitsyn get on (cause he did a whoole lot on this shift)? The only person who did a perfect job on this shift was Shea Weber. Shea, I’m sorry you had to sit through that. Readers, I’m sorry you had to sit through this too. But if you ever get down on this series, come back and reread this article, because you’ll realize this is the end of the line, and things really aren’t that bad. Luckily for you, however, the Predators have improved 10-fold since this game, so you won’t even have to worry about that!

I’m outta here, but don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you all sad and Blum glum!! Go celebrate home-ice advantage one more time before the game by watching the following clips:

Topics: Barry Trotz, David Legwand, Detroit Red Wings, Kevin Klein, Martin Erat, Nashville Predators, Nick Spaling, Patric Hornqvist, Pekka Rinne, Sergei Kostitsyn, Shea Weber

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