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Afternoon Analysis

Afternoon Analysis: Tavares

A miscue by Tavares and more poor puck handling.

Since I have not yet had the chance to feature any rookies, today I thought I would start with the first pick, Jonathan Tavares.

In last night’s game against the Bruins, the Islanders played a pretty decent game against an improving opponent. In this first clip, the Islanders turn the puck over in an attempt to clear their own zone. The Bruins’ David Krejci is the beneficiary, as he picks up the puck and drives to the net. Tavares is the man closest to Krejci and he attempts to check the Bruins’ center.

If you look closely at the clip, you will see two small blunders made by Tavares that allowed Krejci to get in tight on Roloson. First, you see that Tavares is not moving his feet in the first attempt to check. Instead, he coasts and attempts to just put his stick in Krejci’s path. The stick move is obviously ineffective and is sometimes whistled down as a penalty.

After Krejci gets by Tavares, there is really very little effort expended by the youngster to get back into the play. He finally leaves his feet in an attempt to swat the puck away, but this too is ineffective. As a caveat, I don’t know how long Tavares had been on the ice previous to this play. What is clear is that he didn’t exert himself and a goal resulted. Taking nothing away from Krejci, Tavares was at the very least in a position to get in his way, and he failed to do so. If the former #1 pick continues to take this attitude towards defense, I would imagine it will be a sore spot between him and the coaching staff for some time.

The second clip I will show goes after the goalies one more time. The Islanders dump the puck deep and Tavares gets on his horse to forecheck. He gets to Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask, who is playing the puck, in good time and Rask throws attempts a blind clear up the boards where Islander Richard Park is waiting.

As you may remember from previous posts, this seems to be a running theme with goaltenders. Without looking (Rask was under pressure here) the puck can be easily turned over. There were several Bruins in the area, but Rask still chose the boards.

I have to say I a little surprised at the number of gaffe’s being made by the keepers. You hear so much about how goalie’s puck skills have improved, but apparently the decision making is lagging. That said, perhaps calls to remove the trapezoid are sound. If more goalies are playing more pucks, we might see an actual increase in goals.

Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.