-It’s a quiet Halloween on the hockey front, with both Elmira and Binghamton idle until Friday.
–Luke Richardson talked about Binghamton’s last two games:
You know what, we played well on (Saturday). We really did. Refereeing never wins you or loses you games but we had some battles in that game. We had some calls that didn’t go our way and we had a lot of calls that were very deserving – they were lazy penalties. They were tripping penalties and neutral zone penalties and we just took too many penalties against a pretty skilled power play. Even though we scored two shorthanded goals within the game, we gave up two power play goals and basically what we do, is tired out our good players and you take other players out of the game. We played very well and we played hard right to the end and with any luck, we were all over them, we just could not put it in the net to tie it at 3-3 and then they got another goal right at the end to make it 4-2. Sunday, we didn’t have a big break but that’s just the way this league is. We played Saturday night and then Sunday afternoon in Manchester and we did not show up right from the start right to the very end. We just weren’t prepared. We weren’t ready to go. We discussed that (with the team) and we watched some video today. We pretty much watched the whole first period today and there was not a lot of good things on there, aside from maybe one good shift.
So the loss to Portland boils down to officiating and some bad luck as far as Richardson is concerned, while the team simply didn’t show up against Manchester (with a nod to travel playing a part in that). He also talked about:
The players and the coaches work together here, and that’s the only way that you get things done. It can’t be the players thinking that the coaches are wrong or it can’t be the coaches blaming the players; that doesn’t create a great atmosphere and you don’t really accomplish anything. You don’t fix anything and if you have something going well, you cannot keep it going. I think we have a good communication here and I think that’s going to be a positive going through the season.
All for one and one for all isn’t a bad motto.
We’ll iron these out [scoring] – the power play really moved the puck around well in the first couple of weeks. This weekend was our first time where we started to see a little more pressure and we just haven’t handled it well – whether it be our entries or our battles to get it back and outnumber them to get it back move it quick to get (the opposition to) spread out. That’s our focus for the rest of the week is to really work on some offensive explosions on of the line rushing and definitely (work) on our power play. If we can (improve in these areas) and we can stay out of the box a little bit, that helps too because we use our good players on the penalty kill – like Zibanejad and Silfverberg – and those guys, they have got to be tired when they’re out there. You can’t be tired on the power play, that’s when you have to step it up a notch. It doesn’t mean the man advantage means relax and move it around until there’s an opening. It means you engage even harder and faster and you bury another team when they take a penalty. It takes aggression out of them. If we can do that and we can get on track a little bit on the power play, I think it will help our overall offence and help a little bit with the confidence in some of these players that are ‘so-called’ goal scorers. I think everybody can score goals but these guys are more talented offensively than some. If we can get them going on a regular basis, it will really help our offence as a whole.
I have noted the team’s offensive struggles; I think their injuries have played a significant role.
If we can really be disciplined in our positioning and stick it out, we will come ahead in a lot of these games because we will catch teams out of position. So that’s something that we’re definitely trying to work on and trying to mature our young guys faster than other teams, because if we do that, it will give us more chances to score goals and catch other teams off-guard that way. But you know what, the European guys are doing well. I talked to Zibanejad today and he is playing his off-wing a lot of nights here. We talked about the benefits of that; especially with his speed driving in on his backhand to the net and his reach – but there are some disadvantages. We have got to really have to work on his own zone, when he gets pinched off on the wall, it’s hard. When he’s that close to the wall to shoot it on your forehand, when you’re that close to getting an angle to get it up off the glass and out if you have to because he doesn’t have the extra 6’ to 8’ width on his wing to curl back and… And he talked about that today, he said, ‘I really have played my off-wing over the World Juniors and in a smaller rink but that was really the only time. I played in Europe. There was a lot more time (with the puck). It was a different game.’ It was more of a design where (the Europeans) could skate back with (the puck) and hold onto the puck. I know Silfverberg has battled that as well, so in time, they’re getting stronger and they’re getting better. They’re getting more used to their surroundings and I think they’ll just better and better. They are dangerous players, those two especially – Zibanejad and Silfverberg – they are very dangerous players. Anytime that they are on the ice, they create offensive chances and if they don’t, they create a lot of attention so that other people have a little more room out there.
Nichols (the above link) indulges in some analysis about the team’s scoring, but unfortunately suffers from the Silver Seven syndrome in that he hasn’t “watched many of the Binghamton games”–I’m glad he admits it, but I think he’s stretching in some of his assumptions. Binghamton’s primary problem is that they are weak at center and (as Richardson mentions) not being consistent in their positioning. Many of the wild passes I’ve seen are made because other players are not where they are supposed to be. That lack of flow hurts their offense and tends to lead to individualistic play.
–Stu Hackel goes through the current permutations of the NHL cancelling the Winter Classic; that cancellation would dynamic Bruce Dowbiggin theory that the league did not want to give up the financial windfall attached to it. It will be interesting to see what happens.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)