The Coventry Blaze are running out of fire.
In a shutout loss to Cardiff Devils last Sunday and then a 7-2 beating at the hands of the Belfast Giants last night, fans are left wondering what is going wrong. Many are displeased and rightfully so but I feel their anger is being fired in the wrong direction.
Taking the brunt of the accusations and decline is head coach Mark Lefebvre. Some of the “problems” can be attributed to him but in all fairness folks, he’s not the one putting pucks in the net. Lefevbre’s job should be insanely easy with big leadership and take control guys like Steve Goertzen and Ryan O’Marra on the ice. It can also be fairly hard to coach a team of players that look like they don’t want to be there. This is exactly the impression the team is leaving. They just don’t look like they want it enough.
Coaching comes in two parts. Pick the right guys and you’re work is pretty much done as most players in this league are smart enough to provide their own leadership and ability. Pick the wrong guys who need the extra kick in the ass most of the time and you could end up screwed.
Of course, Lefebvre was the one who choose his squad and unfortunately, the chemistry he thought would synch up just isn’t there yet. If it was there, he could sit back and laugh his way to a winning season. Alas, hockey works in strange ways. What works on paper doesn’t necessarily work on the ice. It’s still relatively early in the season though and a fresh player signing or two could be just what the doctor ordered. Kudos to Lefevbre for having the balls to address the adversities on social media as well. Can’t commend him enough for letting the fans know he’s heard their cries.
The Blaze should thank their lucky stars for goaltender Brian Stewart as well. He’s third in the league with a 0.923 save percentage and has played the most minutes out of any other keeper but has a GA of 50. That’s 50 GOALS AGAINST IN 18 GAMES. That includes two shoutouts! Where the HELL is the defence. The signings of Rory Rawlyk, Craig Cescon and Kyle Bochek were supposed to mend this problem from last year.
Riding a three game losing streak into this weekend’s battle against the strong squad of the Belfast Giants isn’t going to do them any favours. The players aren’t stupid, they know they’re not playing well. However, I’ll say it again. This is hockey. Losing streaks are going to happen and fans go overboard in retaliation to it. This is what happens when things get too pumped up into the atmosphere during the summer. It’s a long way down when the boat starts to sink.
Blaze fans, relax a little. Have a couple pops (that’s Canadian for beer), sit back and let the team come into its own. A little slump never hurt anybody. Besides, look at the bright side. It’s not like they’re the Edinburgh Capitals!
…..or the Buffalo Sabres. Connor McDavid anyone?
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