Sunday, November 25, 2007


The Kingston Frontenacs were basically given a win on a platter in today's 3-1 loss to the Ottawa 67's Ottawa and shoved it away like someone who'd overdone it on the snack foods at a Grey Cup party.

The 67's played poorly, boned all seven of their power plays (including a two-minute 5-on-3) and gave Kingston eight chances with the extra man. It didn't hurt them one bit.

Now what's odd is that whenever a Fronts player (today it was Cory Emmerton) is interviewed between periods on an out-of-town broadcast, he's inevitably asked about the coaching change. Inevitably, he'll respond that a big difference is that GM-for-life Larry Mavety doesn't make the players watch as much video as Bruce Cassidy did. Fair enough, but did anyone think that there's a connection between the coach's de-emphasis of video analysis and how the team reacts in a game?

Remember when you'd get in the exam room back in school, flip through the test paper and dwell more on what you didn't know than what you did? That's the Frontenacs in a nutshell, and that can be put upon the coaching. They didn't get a shot on an odd-man rush early in the game, and right after that, goalie Anthony Peters, according to The Team 1200 broadcast, "didn't look prepared for either play" (a pass or a shot) on Ottawa's first goal.

Peters is a young goalie, but if no one took the time to take him through a lot of tape on the 67's, how he is supposed to know if Logan Couture was more likely to pass or shoot the puck on the 2-on-1 rush? (Couture shot and scored.)

The same goes for the Frontenacs power play (1-for-15 this weekend, two shorties allowed), which is as predictable and has about as much going on as this blogger's social life. Talent plays a part, but maybe teams know what's coming, or the Frontenacs don't.

Part of what makes junior hockey fun is that it is imprecise. It's a little more sponteneous. It feels real. However, it doesn't seem like Larry Mavety has the kind of philosophical bent that would lead him to try and make a point about the plague of overcoaching. These days, with the Frontenacs sitting 18th in a 20-team league, he's making a great argument for the overcoaching side.

For anyone who is clinging to the shred of factual truth that the Fronts have a better record under Mavety than with Bruce Cassidy, please, do the match. If the Frontenacs keep up their current pace under Mavety (10 points from 11 games) over the final 45 games of the season, they would finish with 56 points. Keeping up the pace is no guarantee, either.

That would not have been enough to make the playoffs in the OHL's Eastern Conference in any of the past five seasons. This in a league where 80% of the teams make the playoffs, by the way.

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