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03-28-2008, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Pluckfur View Post
Hitch doesn't believe hard work solves all problems... he said as much tonight in his post-game comments. He said everyone is working hard right now, but not playing smart and not getting to the areas on the ice where the majority of all goals are scored from. When's the last time you saw anyone even get their stick on a puck for a TRY at a deflection goal? I can't think of any myself.
Well, we all know why those deflection goals don't happen often with the Jackets. Players aren't getting in front of the net often enough. When they do, the shots either aren't getting through traffic (Wilson aside, the past few games) or they are completely missing the net. Let's also not forget that those shots often don't happen to begin with.

Much of our problems comes from a lack of sustained pressure in the offensive zone. When we do have that pressure, it comes from the forwards cycling down low, with minimal support from our defensemen. On better teams, you'd see players cycling and making quick passes to the point, and those passes would turn into shots on goal--preferably with the forwards already having converged on the net to create deflections, screens and so forth. The Jackets just can't make those plays happen with any regularity. They are lucky to get scoring chances off of the rush. They are lucky to even have a rush that involves more than one player.

Hitch might have said the Jackets need to play smarter, but I'm sure he believes that the only way to get to those scoring areas is to work harder. That was his answer to all of the team's problems for most of the season. Still, I do now recall that he started to acknowledge later on that there was indeed a lack of talent adding to the dilemma (a momentous occasion).

Either way, getting to those scoring areas isn't enough. It's how you get to them, and when and how you take a shot, that matters the most. The Jackets have poor play execution in the offensive zone. They are too predictable with their shots, no matter where they come from. Their movement also isn't creating enough open players for quality scoring chances to actually be created. One of the reasons why I've liked Wilson the past few games is because he's all over the place. More chaos would be a good thing.

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