Coach­ing change not un­ex­pected

The Compass - - PORTHTE -

It’s easy to blame the coach when a t eam i s strug­gling. Doesn’t mat­ter how the team is play­ing on the ice, wins and losses count.

Like it or not, the coach is the face of the fran­chise and when brass de­cides it is time to make a change the coach is al­most al­ways the first one on the chop­ping block.

So, when word broke last week about Steve Power’s oust­ing from be­hind the bench of the Cee­bees, was any­one re­ally sur­prised?

With the team man­ag­ing just three wins out of 12 games, some­thing had to give and un­for­tu­nately, Power lost his job.

This was much to the cha­grin of yours truly, since Power was al­ways a plea­sure to deal with.

But, look­ing closely, were the Cee­bees play­ing that badly? No, not re­ally.

They’ve been in a bunch of close games, fall­ing short in the third pe­riod on a num­ber of them. A bounce here, and a bounce there, the Cee­bees could eas­ily be 8- 3 rather than 3- 8.

There are a cou­ple of lines rolling at the mo­ment. The De­laney line — I call them that for lack of a bet­ter term — is dan­ger­ous any­time they hit the ice.

The ad­di­tion of Mor­gan War­ren to the line has added some sand­pa­per to the dan­ger­ous combo of broth­ers Ryan and Keith De­laney.

Matthew Thomey, Ray Dal­ton and Colin Fee­han have started to pick it up — Fee­han es­pe­cially. He has been a huge part of the of­fence the last cou­ple of games.

The de­fence­men have shown them­selves be ca­pa­ble of keep­ing up with the en­hanced game speed of the new league.

But alas, in sports, wins mat­ter. And, when you are a team used to mak­ing an an­nual trip to the Herder fi­nal, there has to be wins.

I think they’ll come. They have to come re­ally, even it is just to give me some­thing pos­i­tive to write about.

Con­cus­sions

Sid­ney Crosby is out with in­def­i­nitely with the dreaded con­cus­sion- like symp­toms.

Who knew that when the per­son who first coined the phrase, “The Next One” when re­fer­ring to Crosby, he re­ally meant Eric Lindros and not Wayne Gret­zky.

That is how I see Crosby’s ca­reer for the re­main­der of the time he con­tin­ues to lace up the skates.

Like Lindros, Crosby has now be­come a con­cus­sion threat, and quite frankly, he has no one to blame but him­self.

Ath­letes say the yearn­ing for com­pe­ti­tion drives them. It also drives them to throw them­selves back into the fire af­ter suf­fer­ing a head in­jury.

When Scott Stevens … I mean David Steckel, knocked Crosby loopy, Crosby should have taken his time and got bet­ter. In­stead, he came back too soon, got crunched by Vic­tor Hed­man and the rest, as they say, is his­tory.

Now, the best player in the game to­day may never be the same. The same as Lindros, who was never the same af­ter get­ting steam­rolled by Stevens.

There was al­ways a risk of re- ig­nit­ing his con­cus­sion syn­drome af­ter the tini­est of bumps. That is hard to deal with when you are a player the size of Lindros, and your game com­bines slick hands with a crash and bang men­tal­ity.

For other ex­am­ples, look at Pat La­fontaine or Paul Kariya. Both are play­ers whose ca­reer paths were al­tered by con­cus­sions.

Now, Sid will be forced to change his game, no more can he fly hap­haz­ardly into the cor­ner and bat­tle for the puck. He has to switch to a more cere­bral game, one that does not rely on tak­ing on all com­ers and in­stead fo­cus­ing on fill­ing gaps on the ice and watch­ing out for the big­ger, stronger bod­ies on the boards.

Food for thought for par­ents who com­plain about the new head­shot rule and the re­quire­ment for mouth guards to be worn.

THE LIT­TLE VOICE IN­SIDE YOUR HEAD — For lines­man Ben Mercer, keep­ing his eye on the play is the best way to tune out the As­cen­sion Col­le­giate cheer­lead­ers sit­ting di­rectly be­hind him dur­ing ac­tion at the Wes­ley Gosse Me­mo­rial high school hockey tour­na­ment Nov. 26 at the Bay Arena.

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