Friday, April 07, 2006

It's time to see what Morrison is made of

Last night was the 20th straight start for Ray Emery. It’s no coincidence that he looked tired and that his play has slipped.

Prior to Dominik Hasek’s tragic injury in another country in a non-NHL game, Emery had only played 14 games, and few of them were consecutive. To put it simply, he wasn’t used to such a heavy workload. He’s now among the most worked

At first, I’m sure he embraced the opportunity. He’s a hungry and competitive 22-year-old who’s known for his intensity. His play reflected this energy, and I believe it was contagious, with his teammates feeding off his excitement, a reason for why the team as a whole was so strong coming out of the break.

Goaltending is a funny position: it’s the one role that has little room for error. If you make a mistake, it cannot be disguised, and more often than not, ends up in a goal for the opposing team. While Jason Spezza can afford to make a boneheaded blind pass, Emery has little slack for his own blunders.

Putting someone with no NHL experience through this ringer is asking for trouble. And thus, it's about time they gave Mike Morrison some game time. It would serve two purposes:

1. It gets Emery the much needed rest. If Emery is going to be the man in the playoffs, and I’ve come to accept this as the likely scenario, then he’ll be playing a shitload of hockey with little time to rest. It makes no sense to run him into the ground in games that are, ultimately, without much meaning.

2. It gets Morrison in the groove. Now that we’re working under the assumption Hasek isn’t coming back anytime soon, isn’t it wise to have your back-up game ready in case, worst case scenario, something happens to Emery? I know that sounds far fetched, however this team appears to cursed as of late. No injury circumstance should be dismissed as unrealistic. Giving Morrison some real live game time allows him to get much more game ready than sitting on the bench will and lets him remember what playing hockey is like.

For his part, Murray says he will continue to play Emery because he believes Hasek is coming back very soon. I guess he knows something the rest of us don’t. He better hope he’s right, because if not, it might be a long summer.


At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Starting tommorrow, they play five games in eight nights, and I assume Morrisson has to get one of those games. I think I'm reading way to much into it, but like you I believe that with all these games played by Emery, the team has to be confident in Hasek's return. Then, in my more paranoid moments, I think a Morrisson start is a definite signal that Hasek's not coming back.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm hoping Emery keeps starting for the purely selfish reason that I have him in my hockey pool and he could be the difference between me finishing first or fourth!

More seriously, if Hasek is going to be a starter in the playoffs, I think he has to get at least 3 games in before the end of the regular season to get back into game shape and shake off the rust.

The Sens website claims he's going to be skating in full gear tomorrow. If they ease him back into the lineup, I'm thinking best case would be that he plays Thursday, Saturday and the following Tuesday. Not an overly taxing schedule with time to rest between games.

If Hasek is not playing by Thursday, I think you have to assume that Emery is the number one guy going into the first playoff series, in which case Emery should get some rest before the playoffs start.


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