Yikes. That was the worst game of hockey I have watched this year. It was 'physical', it was slow, it was 'nasty' and good god it was boring. It is no surprise that the most exciting time of the game was the final 2ish minutes when the net was empty and Pittsburgh showed some much needed urgency to try and score let alone have the change to tie the game.
This was a game where Pittsburgh managed to draw 6 penalties and not score on a single one of them. So the loss of the game was on them, the quality of the 5 on 5 play however is on Tortorella and the officials for allowing it to become the clutch and grab again.
For a coach who won the Stanley Cup with a 'safe is death' mantra I am struggling to see what benefit he brings to hockey in general and the quality of the entertainment value of the product on the ice.
Like any coach his shelf life is only as long as he gets wins, and I do not fault him for creating a system and culture that Tortorella feels can win games. But if you look at the big picture in Columbus, it is not just about wins, it is also about an entertainment product that you want fans to come and watch.
Right now watching Columbus is terrible, win, lose, or draw (actually scratch that, OT loss or shootout loss) what Tortorella has them doing on the ice is an affront to the skill of the players on that roster. You can see why he didn't work with the Vancouver roster.
In a game with 10 power plays it still felt like so many penalties were not called, how is that even possible, technically thats 20 minutes of special teams ice time and yet in 5 on 5 there we so many interference, hooking and holding penalties let go it is like a raffle out there.
The NHL needs to hurry up and understand that entertainment is fast, hard, clean hitting, great puck handling and passing, brilliant athletic goaltending and high volume chances. NOT JUST INCREASED GOALS SCORING.
A 1-0 game can be exciting and entertaining if the goalies are being forced to make high quality athletic saves, a 5-4 game where all the goals are garbage goals off shin pads and backsides where no one can skate is not fun to watch unless you are invested in one of the teams playing.
There is a simple solution to the decrease in goals scored; don't sweat the goals, sweat the chances created. Call the rule book as it is written, give skilled players more time and space because of it and get the goalies looking like goalies and not mobile walls and you will see a game that skill shines in and the better teams come out in front.
I understand that the NHL wants a parity league, that is what the salary cap is for. However you should not skew the rules on the ice to create parity game to game. The NHL is the only professional sport anywhere in the world, the world!!!!! That makes being good harder on its star players, the post whistle abuse, the calls that go ignored because they are good enough to handle it.
Imaging how many more goals Ovie would have, or Stamkos would have, what about the future production of Eichel or McDavid, two players I want to enjoy watching making other players look stupid. It is going to be hard for them to do that if they are being hooked or having to carry a water skier around with them all game.
This leads into the Department of Player Safety, if penalties were called on the ice then a line of acceptance from the players can be expected. I think it would really help reduce the need for the DOPS to be activated and have to rule on incidents. Call a 4 minute elbowing penalty or a 5 minute boarding major, don't be afraid to punish behaviors on the ice that can cost a team a game. IGNORING THE PENALTY IS JUST AS BAD AS CALLING IT when effecting the result of a game. Putting the whistles away in the third period just encourages bad players to slow the good ones down.
Landeskog blindsides Marchand and only gets 2 games for it. Matt Cooke destroyed a career and introduced a new rule because of it thankfully and Landeskog gets 2 games, 2 GAMES, that is going to make him change isn't it.
That blindside hit is why I mark this as predatory, he also has all of Marchand's body to hit and gets the head, either thats poor hitting technique or he meant it. Thats is where the 'judgement' call should be, not is the the player injured on the play.
Sorry for the ranting on this post, but yikes if the media love having Tortorella around because he makes their job fun or easy, I feel for the Columbus fans, Todd Cordell and Aaron Portzline who are going to have to watch and put up with garbage from this Blue Jackets team this season.
Thanks for reading.