Thursday, October 13, 2011

No Room for Modesty

For those out there that would even consider reading a small fan blog such as this I consider you part of a small group that I have named the #CBJ SuperFans.  As a member of this small, yet elite group you gain a priviledge which helps you fast forward right to the important content. That is, I will not be doing any recapping, or rehashing of information that by now you not only know, but have read about 14 times.  Okay SuperFans, with that out of the way, let's dig in...

There are many out there that will deminish, or downplay an empty net goal.  After a full season of stats for a player, some may go so far as to itemize these empty net goals and even attempt to nullify their importance compared to goals scored by beating a goalie. I would like to offer a contrary opinion, one that concludes much of the opposite.  Empty net goals count the same as every other goal, and for some franchises could mean the difference between a win and a loss.

My theory goes something like this. The players like to avoid the "selfish" label.  There is always an emphasis on playing as a team, and passing the puck.  When it comes to empty net goal opportunities, it almost becomes like a charity game. If a teammate has been in a goal slump, maybe I'll try to get it over to him for the easy goal. There is some hesitation to doing whatever it takes to put the puck in the net.

When goalies are pulled, there is typically around a minute left in the game, and normally a one goal lead.  The team with the lead tends to fall into a bit of a prevent defense as they attempt to bear the 6 on 5 attack.  The sense of scoring urgency for the leading team is not there, and the mentality it to try and hold on for the final onslought of shots.

For a team like the Blue Jackets desperately begging for their first win of the season, having the puck over the red line with an open net available should lead to a goal. That goal may not feel necessary at the time, but ask the team if they would want that goal now.

This may be part of the adjustment for Jeff Carter (and the poor guy has the flu!).  Perhaps in Philidelphia they didn't give up a lot of game-tieing goals in under a minute. Maybe they were a team that could aways bounce back in OT or win in a shoot-out. Well this is the Blue Jackets, and history will sadly tell all of us that they do give up a lot of late goals, struggle in overtime and don't get me started on shoot-outs.  Umberger has been with the team long enough to know that sometimes an empty net goal is the difference between 2 points and 1.  And even though it's only one extra point, the difference for the fans, and the psych of the players is very high.  If Umberger had a puck late in the game with an empty net, he would have found a way to get it in.  That goal can settle the team.  There is no room for modesty and the players have to earn it.

Fear not, the #CBJ Eternal Optimist will leave you with some positive parting thoughts.  Carter is very new to the team, the culture and the city.  This franchise has many attributes not found in any other franchise (good and bad).  It will get better Jackets fans.  The scoring chances have been there in every single game.  Three of the four losses have been by one goal.  A lot of excuses, but still some positives to take away.  Let's be patient and remain loyal fans, they need us.

1 comment:

  1. Kind of interesting that you'd guarantee a goal with Umby over Carter, who in fairness was draped with a few players when he had possession on the better side of center ice.. Umby has been struggling this year, none more noticeable than last night in my opinion, and especially with the puck.

    They all need to find a way to right the ship. I wouldn't take it on Carter at all. (but that's just me!)