The lockout has already caused the schedule to be slashed through Dec. 14. Given that’s a mere week away, there will be more slashing to come. To what date is the question. (Jan. 1? Jan. 15? Aug. 1?)
Earlier this week (remember when everyone was all optimistic and stuff?), people were debating the appropriateness of a Christmas Day start. Technically we suppose that’s still possible, though it would take a serious change in momentum. Or a time machine.
Yesterday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he had no “magic date” on which he plans to start the season – a response to those who believe the league has had this whole charade scripted from the very beginning.
“You know what my magic date was?” Bettman said. “It was Oct. 11, when we should have opened the season with a new collective bargaining agreement. And the fact of the matter is, we’ll get to a point, at that point we’ll conclude we can’t have a season with integrity, and then we’ll have to make a tough decision. I am certainly hoping that we don’t get to that place. But when we do, we’ll be there.”
Keep in mind it’s possible the league is waiting to see if the NHLPA goes the decertification route before announcing the next round of cancelations. In which case the following clip seems appropriate:
Hitch’s recipe for more goals is a pretty simple one
Ken Hitchcock wants the Blues to spend more time attacking and less time defending.
Because hockey isn’t rocket science, that’s why.
“To score and win games in the National Hockey League…you have to spend as much time in the offensive zone as you can,” Hitchcock told the Post-Dispatch.
“When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, you’re forechecking more. When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, the goalie has to make saves. They’re having to defend more. And the opposing team takes penalties on you. So they’re all connected. … What I want to see from us is staying on the puck for longer stretches.”
According to the stats, the Blues have not been spending as much time in the offensive zone as we’re used to seeing from them. In fact, in their last 20 games, they rank in the bottom third of the league in score-adjusted Corsi. That compares to their first 20 games when they were in the top third.
The result is fewer shots, and more importantly, fewer goals. The Blues have fallen all the way to 25th in offense, averaging just 2.37 goals per game. Last year, they finished fifth (2.91).
“I don’t think he’s going to dazzle you with flashy plays, but I think he’s a guy who plays the game the right way. He’s hard to play against because of his size. He’s got a long reach, and he’s got a good stick.”
Sundqvist was selected 81st overall by the Pens in 2012. He’ll become the fourth player out of that Pittsburgh draft class to make his NHL debut, after Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, and Matt Murray.