It as probably a good thing I held off on posting about the BU game until after the BC game. It gave a better view of where the team stood after this weekend. And frankly, it doesn’t look very good.
This team simply put has a stunning lack of fundamental things that are necessary for a successful team. Consider what they’re missing: They play stupidly undisciplined hockey, and negate their opportunities seemingly whenever possible. Even when they’re off the ice they display the same lack of discipline, as evidenced by Ferriero and Pimm’s suspension (as well as Ferriero and Quailer’s suspension from the end of last year). They can’t transition whatsoever, they just dump it into the boards. This might be acceptable if they could actually win the board battles, but they can’t do that either. After a long streak of great playing, they regressed to selfish moves (as evidenced by Vermeersch’s shot on Millan instead of passing to a wide open Saponari aiming at an open net).
Most galling is the special teams. They can run a 5×5 game quite well. So when they’re up a man (or two), why can’t they do anything? They can pass nicely, and cycle well enough. But all that doesn’t mean anything if they don’t shoot or can’t set up rebounds. They rarely have anyone who can get to the front of the net for a quick redirect in. And when other teams play an aggressive box, the PP unit freezes and loses control of the puck. They need to stop looking for a perfect one-timer or redirect, and just start shooting as many shots as possible on net and then crashing with 2 or 3 guys on net. On the PK, move around aggressively, and stop waiting for the other team to move. Make them move, make them react, and the more often you can do that the more likely it is that you disrupt their rhythm and force the puck out of the zone.
This really isn’t the time for these mistakes to start popping up. We’re sitting in 9th place, pretty much right back to where we were before our winning streak started. There’s no more throwaway games, no more chances to give away points. Every other Hockey East team on the bottom is trying to claw their way higher, and every high team is fighting to stay in their spot. On Thursday we could have explored potential ways to get into the NCAA tournament. We don’t have that luxury. Unless we go on another massive tear, we won’t be in the NCAA tournament. At this point, we may not even be in the Hockey East tournament come March.