FanPost

Meanwhile, in Springfield...

Well, it looks like the Springfield Jr. Blues aren't doing so hot, to the tune of having lost their first five games including their first home opener.  Since I only saw their first two games and have to go off of the score sheets from the last three, I'm going to make some wild speculations as to their problems...

 

Problem one is their defense.  The second game against the St. Louis Bandits showed the team's third-period defense problem:  Springfield's defense seemed to lose its energy and never recover.  That's why the Bandits were able to score three unanswered goals and one empty-net goal in the third period.  The match against Kenai River showed a similar pattern of letting the opponents open up a huge third period scoring run.  All I can suggest is more conditioning for the blueliners and the goalies to be able to keep the puck out of their zone.  More endurance, more speed.

Problem two is power plays.  Against St. Louis, the Junior Blues were able to capitalize on one power play out of seven in the first game and two out of four in the second game.  Against the last three teams, they couldn't score on any of their power plays. They went 0 for 3 against Kenai River, 0 for 6 against Bismarck and 0 for 7 against New Mexico.  When you get seven power plays against a team you should get at least one in the net for the amount of time your opponents are short-handed.  Conversely, Springfield allowed at least one power play goal to get past them in each game.  Any power play special teams need to work on punching through the shorthanded defense and defending on a power play will need the same thing up above:  more endurance and speed.

Finally, there are the rookie mistakes that still need to be stamped out with extreme prejudice.  Something I saw in the first two games that needed fixing was the Jr. Blues' tendency to pass to the defenseman who is right in front of the opponents' bench during the opponents' line change.  That was something that led to two goals in the home opener as a fresh forward managed to steal the puck and scoot into the Jr. Blues' defensive zone without anyone being close enough to stop him.  This may be the toughest thing to fix since it deals with bad habits.  Maybe a little creative benching will help to remind players to keep the puck away from the fresh opponents.  It's up to each team to make their opponents expend more energy per steal than it's worth.  The defensive side of the Jr. Blues isn't doing that yet.

Springfield is able to score, they just have a problem preventing the other side from scoring, too.  Fixing that will make the difference between close/ winnable games and getting blown out in the third period.

Please make sure that any content you post is appropriate to Game Time, which means that it pertains to hockey, the Blues, frosty adult beverages, or puppies.

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