Five games in and a 3-1-1 record. Not bad without question, but looking at it another way, I’d say their “strong game” record is 2-2-1. That is to say that they’ve had two solid games (Ducks and Chicago), two games in which we played poorly (Avs. and Dallas) and one game which was an alright effort (Phoenix). As it’s been the past two years, consistency is the problem five games in. If Detroit plays like they did against the Ducks, we are 5-0 so far to start the season. And even giving up only 15 shots against Dallas, if they play that way in all five games, they probably would be 1-4 at best.
What’s the difference between the games? To me, it looks like effort. Babbles agrees with me too:
“I think our team has to engage,” Babcock said after Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win in Phoenix. “What I mean by that is the game’s a real simple game. You got to compete harder than the other team. If you do that, you can win.
“If you want to skill yourself around the rink you’re not going to win very many nights. On a consistent basis, (you need) wave after wave going after the other team, winning all the loose puck battles. Our power play will be better when that happens.”
Watching the games, the Ducks and the Hawks games were by far the best games to watch because the played like they cared. The other games, well, they played like they knew they were better than the other team and skill would win it for ‘em. Why is this happening? Injuries? Maybe, keeps the pressure off the guys to keep their spot in the lineup. Still, probably not. Pure apathy? No way, these guys care way too much to be compared to Jagr’s days in Washington. Lack of a true grinder that really gets everything going with a few big hits, like a Dallas Drake? Maybe, maybe not. We have guys that can hit, just not consistently.
Still, it is something that has got to stop, no matter what the reason. 100% every night will equal a chance at a Cup, nothing else will do.