Saturday, 28 October 2017

It's How You Finish

It has been said in many sports that winning erases all problems. As long as teams win, the little mistakes are often overlooked until they actually come back to haunt the team who had been winning. While coaches will generally cringe at that attitude, a lot of athletes seem to follow this idea because it doesn't matter how one wins, but rather it only matters that one does win. In saying that, it's all about how you finish in that case, and tonight we have examples of a good finish and one that may haunt a team for a while.

We'll start in Boston where the Kings and Bruins were battling. The game went into overtime tied 1-1, and it looked like we were headed for everyone's favorite event of any NHL game: the skills competition! That is, however, until Tyler Toffoli was sent over the boards with a second left in the free hockey.
Toffoli's goal came with 0.4 seconds remaining in the game as Tuukka Rask couldn't stop the one-timer off the Anze Kopitar face-off win. That execution is outstanding, and it shows that even with smallest amount of time remaining that players shouldn't stop playing! Well done, Kings, on some outstanding communication and execution to grab the extra point with Jonathan Quick on the bench in three-on-three time!

On the other hand, I feel for Lindsey Post. Post, as you know, was one of the most dominant players to even come out of Canada West women's hockey, and she was drafted into the CWHL by the Calgary Inferno. Post was one of those goalies that, despite her playing for the opposition, you had to respect simply due to the fact that she could win you a game singlehandedly at the Canadian university level.

She has yet to win a game on her own in the CWHL, but the goal that Kunlun scored tonight is one that she's going to want back in a big way.
Oi vay. That goal, scored by Annina Rajahuhta, went off the end boards and off Post into the net in overtime just ahead of the final horn to give Kunlun Red Star their first CWHL victory with the 4-3 final. In Post's defence on this play, I don't even see the puck as it disappeared once it went above the boards. However, it seems she had an idea of where it was as she turned her head to look to her right. Maybe she just didn't pick the puck up off the boards in time? Whatever the case, I'm sure Lindsey Post would like this one back as her Inferno only grab a single point on the night on the misplay of that puck.

In both cases, players should note that these games were won in the final seconds of overtime. I know I've seen players let up as time is winding down, so you should still try to maximize your effort until that final whistle is blown. After all, the Kings and Red Star grabbed two points out of playing to the buzzer rather than taking their chances in the shootout. That's smart hockey, and those points may prove valuable down the stretch when the playoff races tighten!

Good teams use every second on the clock to win as we saw tonight.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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