i can't give up the anger and dismay on the eriksson issue, so i thought i'd open up the game summaries, event summaries, & shift charts of the last two games, to examine (in microscopic detail) what exactly went wrong to make this trainwreck of a defenseman commit an NHL murder-suicide last night.
i'm still angry that keenan started the game with #8 paired with dion, knowing what an absolute liability he is, but i am forced to concede that bubba had a pretty decent game 6. in the flames' 2-0 win on sunday, he played 21:46 ---largely with phaneuf---, including minimal time on each the PK and PP. he ended up a +2, with an assist on the insurance marker, and clearly contributed in kipper pitching a shutout. without knowing his playoff history, it would have been impossible for anyone to predict such an utterly complete meltdown in game 7.
part of me wants to be medically thorough in this dissection, but that would require watching last night's match again in its entirety... and i'm a coroner, here, not a masochist. my first query would be "why, on his FIRST SHIFT, did phaneuf, nolan, conroy AND tanguay get a change, while eriksson played on an additional 40-or-so seconds ??" if the answer is (and i presume it to be) due to the dozens of calgary icings in the early-going (bubba being on the far point), then i blame keenan for not noticing his (presumed) fatigue. eriksson's first shift clocks in at approximately two minutes. reason enough to be one step behind your opponent five shifts later, thereby taking a hooking penalty ? i'd say yes..... SJ leads by one and the flames get jittery.
phaneuf comes out with regehr on the first shift post-goal and it's clear keenan's not impressed with bubba's play/infraction as he benches him for three full minutes; nearly two of those after calgary ties it up at ones. two shifts after that (both times paired with dion) owen nolan and ryane clowe get offsetting minors and eriksson doesn't see the ice again until after calgary scores, 3 1/2 minutes into the second period. that's almost five full minutes of riding pine, with three of those minutes at 5 on 5. phaneuf, during this period, spends time with regehr, aucoin, and vandermeer (who, by returning to the defensive corps, makes it impossible for keenan to continue rolling 4 complete lines like he did in game 6).
on eriksson's next shift, now 5-or-so minutes into the 2nd period, SJ ties it up. keenan obviously realizes that eriksson is a detriment to the success of the team and, presumeably, only puts him back out on the ice reluctantly (but with few other choices) with regehr in the box, seven minutes later. on this shift, even though he's clearly rested, eriksson is no longer paired with phaneuf. can he be hidden better on the PK if he's playing with sarich ?? the answer is, apparently, yes.... at first... but as reggie's infraction expires, and before the penaltykillers (read: eriksson) can get a change: SJ goal #4.
hello, nail ? meet coffin....
buh bye momentum
buh bye kipper.
buy bye eriksson for the rest of the night (save for a couple of useless short shifts towards the end of the third).
to sum up anders eriksson's game 7:
2 penalty minutes (= SJ goal)
2 blocked shots (i chalk this up to luck more than anything)
and all this in a STUNNING 9:26 TOI. think about it. that's INCREDIBLY brutal....
if sutter can't deal him this summer, he'd better buy him out. this goes for rhetto as well (sorry buddy, but the dream is over). if eriksson turns back up in a flaming C come training camp, i'll be out for sutter's head. remember, this useless blueliner is largely the reason that sutter couldn't commit to giordano....
worse than zyuzin.