Saturday, April 22, 2017

Go Ahead. Whine about the Officials

Go ahead. Because last night's game is exactly the kind of game people who tell you not to whine about the officials expect.

You know the ones. The official somehow screws your team in the last minute. Maybe they call a completely outrageous penalty against your team in overtime of a playoff game. Maybe the other team then, of course, wins the game on the resulting power play.

What a hose job!

Not so, those people will tell you. The officials didn't lose the game. You did.

First of all, you should have scored more goals in regulation. Remember that one shot in the first period where the goalie made that amazing save on you? If you had just scored that one, the game wouldn't have been tied at the end of regulation. You would have won the game before the horrible penalty. 

Or, you could have just killed off the penalty in overtime. Just put on your big boy pants and kill the penalty. Then, win it on your own once you're back to regular strength. 

Basically, you can't blame the officials because it's just up to you to make every single play all game and never screw up even once for even a little bit. Ever. 

And, the Bruins pretty much did that last night. They had a goal controversially taken away from them in overtime. They had a cheapo penalty called against them in overtime. They had a penalty shot not awarded to them when everyone outside of Toronto knew they deserved one. But, they persevered. They ignored the momentum swing of taking away the goal. They ignored the terrible non-call for covering the puck in the crease. They killed off the incredibly weak penalty. 

Then they just won the game by making the shot when they needed to.

Wonderful. They deserved the win 100%. But, I just have one small question about the way they persevered. The way the didn't let it bother them. The way they overcame all the odds.

Why did they have to do that?

Ottawa didn't have to do that. Why only the Bruins? Ottawa didn't have to do that in game two either, when they were handed an overtime win. So, if you want to point out that the Bruins just need to play a perfect game, and then they'll win...that if they just overcome every single hose job they'll still come out on top, you can do that. You can say that's why they can't whine about officials. 

I'll just ask why can't they whine about being made to do that? Why is it only them that has to play the perfect game? Why are they the only team that has to execute every little thing to perfection every single time? Why aren't they handed a playoff game on a silver platter? Why can't they complain that it's not fair? 

Why aren't you complaining that it's not fair? Because, isn't that what you thought you were watching? A fair sporting event? A competition between two teams playing with an agreed-upon set of rules? Why don't you complain when that doesn't happen? Why don't you want everything balanced?

Why is it OK if only the Bruins are put at a disadvantage? Why is it OK if the Bruins have to work harder to get their win? Why is that just the way it goes? Why can't you blame the officials when that happens? Why can't you expect them to do their jobs as well as you expect the Bruins to do theirs? 

Why not?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Does Claude Julien Need to Go?

When I was a kid, I remember seeing a book in the bookstore. The title was “Is Elivs Alive?”. I went over to check it out. I was really hoping that the author had the ability to publish a book like that where you opened it to see one sentence. “No, you dumbass.” Followed by 200 blank pages.

That’s what I want to do with this post.

“No, you dumbass.”

Now, in this case, the “dumbass” might be a bit harsh. Thinking Julien needs to go doesn’t reflect on you the way some other “opinions” might. But, it’s certainly not one I agree with.

But, you see it during almost every game. “The team is flat!” “Julien doesn’t have them ready to play!”

I don’t really understand it.

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend it’s the coach’s job to get his players “ready to play.” Let’s pretend that professional athletes paid millions of dollars aren’t supposed to get themselves ready. Let’s pretend it’s all up to Claude to get the team to get off to a fast start.

How, exactly, is he supposed to do that?

Is it with the fiery locker room speech? “Win one for the Gipper” and all that? Doesn’t that a little stale after, say, 20 times? And even if it doesn’t, when is that speech given? In the locker room before warm-ups? When they then have all kinds of time to themselves without a coach to fire them up? On the bench just before the game? Even then, would that work? If the coach gets them all pumped up into a lather and sends them out onto the ice, they don’t drop the puck right away. Right? The players circle around in their positions for a bit. Wait for everyone to get ready. Then, wait some more. So, it’s on the player to keep whatever energy he had after he left the bench, and carry it through face-off. The coach doesn’t do that. 

Or, does everyone mean “tactically ready” to play? Does Julies not give them the plays they need to succeed? But, most of the complaining I see is about the start of games. Does he forget how to draw plays for the first two minutes, but then remember halfway through the period?

Or, maybe it’s not Claude’s fault?

For some of this, I blame the Patriots and their “Do Your Job” mentality. They have managed to convince Boston fans that all it takes to win if for everyone to do what they need to do. That sounds all fine and dandy, as long as you can do what you’re supposed to do. Sure, the play may say I block the linebacker to spring the running back for a big gain. But, if the linebacker outweighs me by 100 pounds, me “doing my job” just isn’t going to happen. I’m not lazy. I’m not unprepared. The coach got me ready to play. Things are just hard to do sometimes.

So, isn’t it possible that the Bruins are ready to play? They have all the necessary plays. They know what to do, and they have the energy level to do it. But, scoring goals is hard. That it’s harder to make plays when someone else is trying to stop you. That sometimes you just fail at things. Sometimes your best player doesn’t score a goal in every game. Sometimes a guy falls down. Sometime you don’t win the game.

No matter how “ready” you are.

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