God, that’s an awful title. Whatever, cut me some fucking slack.
The Hogs had quite the weekend, swinging pretty much all over the place. They were bad, great, stupid, gutsy, fun, awful and everything in between.
One thing we can be certain of is that the Hogs are supremely stupid. There’s no way around it. They surrendered 20 power plays in two games this past weekend. 20. That’s not easy to do. You seriously have to go out of your way to give two teams nine and 11 power plays respectively. Like, that must be on the white-board or something. “Attack this guy on the wall. Don’t let this guy to the outside. Take a fuckload of penalties.” That must be what it says.
On Friday, it cost them. The Hogs weren’t all that far off the Chicago Wolves, but did just enough to keep themselves from getting close. Kyle Beach tied the game at 1, but then Adam Clendening took a holding penalty after getting beat and then Joe Lavin got a little seven-year-old-in-left-field while Brett Sterling went right through him. Billy Sweatt got another power play goal in the 2nd to make it an unreachable 4-1. Brandon Pirri brought them within two and the Hogs were rolling, but at that point it’s far too much to ask. When you’re killing penalties all the time, you run out of gas.
Saturday, they made it even better. At the end of the second, a quarter of the team lost its rag. It started toward the end when Marcus Kruger went nuts at an opponent and got himself a 10 minute misconduct to go with his stupid roughing penalty. When the period ended, it all went loopy. Jeremy Morin got into it with what looks to be a total doofus in Patrick Bordeleau of Lake Erie. Bordeleau then attacked Dylan Olsen. This caused both Andrew Shaw and Wade Brookbank to leave the bench to get at him. It was a mess. Of course, the latter two Hogs were tossed.
But that’s what it took to light a fire under the Hogs ass, and they bathed the Monsters in five 3rd period goals — though to be fair it was the third game in three nights for Lake Erie. Kyle Beach and Brandon Pirri led the way, each with a goal and an assist in the period. Jeremy Morin capped it off with a gorgeous move around the Monsters’ netminder, his first goal in forever. You wonder why this doesn’t happen to more teams playing the Hogs. It’s not lack of talent.
-Kyle Beach was named AHL player of the week today. As Chris Block said, you know something is fucked when Beach is your smartest player out there. But he has been the past few games. Moving up on the 4th line to play with Jimmy Hayes and St. Pierre, Beach has gotten to the net, let loose what is a wicked release, been properly physical and not dumb physical. It’s a small sample size, and even if it continues it will probably only grease his way to another organization. But it’s still good to see. And he’s a +4!
-Along with the lack of discipline, the pile of penalties are partially a result of the Hogs not seeming to have any idea what they want to do at their own blue line. They’re not standing anybody up and denying it, but they’re also not keeping anyone in front of them. They continually get beat to the outside and are forced into hooking and holding penalties. If you’re going to do that, you might as well stand up and try to deny the line, and if you pull it off you’re in a far better area to counter with what is a pretty quick forward line for this level. I’ll just reserve judgement on whether I think Ted Dent knows what he’s doing.
-Another ass-kicker has been Brandon Pirri. He’s got 10 points in 10 games, but they’ve all come in the last seven. Better yet, he’s doing it with better work along the wall where he used to get killed. Still can’t win a draw, but he’s really making things happen offensively. If he can keep it up until whenever a Hawks camp starts…well, he’s going to earn a look, let’s say.
-The Hogs are second in the division at 5-4-0-1, and eighth in the West.