"What is it that you'd say that you do here?"To borrow another line from a cult classic, Frontenacs owner Doug Springer is having a case of the Mondays.
Five games into the season (four real losses, one charity-pointer, an overtime loss) and the Fronts Talk-ers are already calling for Mavety's firing. It will also probably not take too long before the right people start asking questions about the team's announced attendance figures, which seem divorced from all reality.
On the plus side, it was a fun game to watch in person in Oshawa on Sunday night, at least for a period and a half.
Getting back to the attendance, the apparently inactive Fire Larry Mavety noted in February that the City of Kingston, which has a $1.50 surcharge on each ticket, is budgeted for 3,500 fans per game. It has also, if memory serves, projected revenues based on the Frontenacs having at least four home playoff dates. That means having home-ice advantage for a first-round series that goes the full seven games, as per Springer's opening-night vow, or reaching the second round. Of course, that hasn't been heard of in Kingston since before Springer owned the team.
It's early yet, but people are already peeved. Good for them. Here's a sampling from the diehards, God love 'em:
"Collectively, they don't play as a team. And that's the coaching staff's fault. There are no systems, it's basically five guys skating around doing what they think they should do. Sure, they try hard, but at the end of the day there's no cohesion on the ice.It's no surprise. Fans were right ticked when Springer, ever indifferent, waited until mid-August to announce Mavety was returning as coach. Granted, in this corner, it seemed sporting to heed the spirit of the late, great Kingston sportscaster Max Jackson's sign-off, "If you can't play a sport, be one!" and wait at least until the 15-, 20-game mark before calling for a change in ownership or management. (To say nothing of writing another passionate plea for favourite son Kirk Muller to make like his former Montréal Canadiens teammate Patrick Roy (well, not completely like Roy) and buy his hometown junior hockey club?
"People point at last season's 'turnaround' (and I use that term loosely, since the team was still way under .500 under Mavety) as a reason that Mav could do good things with this year's squad. But one thing people need to remember, is the fact that John Murray stole game after game, after game for us last year. And John Murray's not around this year. He made up for a lot of the shortcomings of the team last year, and exaggerated how good the team actually was."
"(Springer) outright lied when he said he would do whatever it takes to build a successful franchise, he did absolutely nothing apart from reprise his geriatric coach from the prior ten years."
"I also had the pleasure of speaking with a few of the player parents that made their way to the (Oshawa) game as well as a couple of billets that made the trip and they all said the same thing - MAVETY HAS TO GO AND GO NOW!
I know I have said this before, but there are players that, if things don't change, they will be asking for trades.
His Royal Mavesty is flesh and bone like all of us. Who among us would not wish for a
Anyway, spending the weekend in Southern Ontario afforded me the opportunity to see the Fronts' 5-3 loss to John Tavares and the Oshawa Generals on Sunday. There's far too much of a time lag to rehash the who-what-where-when-why (the Fronts should put together five Ws so fast!), but here were some general thoughts:
- Five games is way too soon to use this line about the Frontenacs prize rookie defenceman: "Which Erik are we going to see — Gudbranson or Bad-branson?" There was a bit of both. Knocking Tavares off the puck on a 1-on-1 rush, and then knocking the future No. 1 overall pick on his duff was Gud. Getting two assists was Gud.
The Badbranson moments: Missing a clearing attempt and giving Oshawa a gift shot for its go-ahead goal. Gudbranson was trusted to kill a two-man disadvantage to start the third period, but made a weak clearing attempt that allowed Oshawa to keep the puck in the Kingston zone. Two passes later, Tavares had what stood up as the game-winning goal. (In fairness, Taylor Doherty would probably be out there, and he had taken the second penalty for roughing after the whistle.)
- In the second period, the Generals got Tavares' line out against Kingston's fourth line, but the Fronts came out ahead. Peter Stevens bumped Tavares, a fight broke out and Oshawa got the extra minor penalty. On the power play, though, Corbin Crawford hit the goalpost, missing a chance to go up by two goals. It was also karmic, especially considering how Kingston competed once it lost the lead.
- Overheard on Saturday at Queen's football win over York: "The Frontenacs will probably start 0-8 and Mavety will blame everybody but himself."
Forty-eight hours later, Mavety tells the local paper that a couple of his players " obviously aren't as mentally tough as we thought they were" and have a "defeatist attitude." Hey, it's good to know that the coaching wasn't to blame.