Last night was one of those 2-1 losses where it’s not enough to say, “Well, if they could have scored another goal it would have been a good game.”
It was not a good game. It was a dreadful defensive game. It was a woeful offensive game. It obviously was a terrible discipline game, and we’re not just talking about the temperamental teenager (or his always angry coach).
But today we’re not here to talk about how four of the defensemen were smelly-bad, including Del Zotto before he lost his cool, and fellow rook Matt Gilroy, and the usual suspects whose names begin with Rs.
Today we’re here to talk about the Del Zotto benching and another big development this morning: Andrew Gross reporting that Donald Brashear has requested a trade. He has been placed on waivers.
Take that one first. Get out! Now the Rangers have every reason to bury him in Hartford. His completely eroded level of play, his unwillingness or inability to fight, and the ill-will he brings among the Garden Faithful for doing years of bad deeds — reasons all why he shouldn’t have been signed in the first place — are now secondary to the facts that the coach doesn’t want him, and the player doesn’t want to be here.
Trade him? Yeah, good luck with that. What peabrained GM is going to take a useless fourth-liner who can’t fight and makes $1.4 M this year and next, which won’t come off your books no matter how you release him? Not happening. Enjoy Connecticut’s capital, Donald.
As for Michael Del Zotto, John Tortorella was right to act the way he did — angrily showing the kid the end of the bench, then starting him the next period for taking a yapping penalty that resulted in a PPG and a loss. It’s called tough love.
It would be nice, now, if the tough coach used some tough love, or tough anything, on some of his veterans who regularly screw up. You know, just to be consistent. Bench Ales Kotalik. What, oh, right … he’s gone. Bench Wade Redden? Done that. How about some of the other guys who do the same things over and over in the defensive zone, or the forwards who bring it some nights, but most nights glide around with no reprimand?
I am one, however, all for a coach having zero tolerance for undisciplined penalties. Very few coaches in sports practice discipline any more. Did you see the Super Bowl? A late hit out of bounds had a dramatic effect on the game. It was committed by an undisciplined player on the losing team. It happens every game in football. And basketball, where it used to be frowned upon to take a technical foul. And in baseball, where you no longer are required by your manager to run out fly balls or ground balls.
So I’m glad to see a hockey coach who understands that those things lead to bad habits, and lead to losses, and that those things are the pitfalls that are the easiest to correct. Simple: You don’t tolerate them at all.
Del Zotto got his message. And he got right back into the game. He won’t do that again. Good job by the coach.
AFTERNOON UPDATE, 12:16 p.m.: Corey Potter has been assigned to Hartford, along with Chad Johnson. Matt Zaba (daba-doo) has been recalled. I imagine that Ocho will remain in Hartford through the Olympic break to get games under his belt. No reason to play him here until after the Olympics anyway.