Let me first start this post by saying that I absolutely love Ryan Callahan. He plays the "heart and soul" role for our team very well. He is never short on effort, and he leads this team by his words AND actions. However, as great as his is for this team, no one is going to confuse his ability to put the puck in the net with that of Brett Hull's. Case and point: his "scoring chance" last night late in the third period. I use the term scoring chance loosely, because it was really lame....really really high-school-player-who-gets-his-first-career-breakaway-and-poops-the-bed lame. In my opinion, he could have easily tied the game if he would have showed some skill. Take the jump for the analysis:In hockey, a scoring chance usually has the following elements: (1) the shooter's skill; (2) the shooter's strength; (3) the shooter's speed; (4) the goalie's positioning; (5) traffic in front of the net, if any; (6) and of course the almighty luck.
Late in the third period of last night's frustrating loss to the Senators, Ryan Callahan turned a perfectly good scoring chance into an incredibly routine save for Craig Anderson. With between 5 and 6 minutes remaining, Callahan caught a lucky bounce of an Ottawa forward who was fore-checking on the left side of the neutral zone (Luck element-check). He showed good speed into the Ottawa zone and glided by the Ottawa Defenseman, who if memory serves me correctly was Chris Phillips; not a slouch on the defensive end (Speed element-check). Callahan then had a de-facto one on one with Craig Anderson, and this is where Callahan went lame.
After speeding by Phillips on the left side of the Ottawa zone, Callahan had a good two-steps on the Ottawa D, and was powering towards a game-tying goal. Callahan had Anderson as committed to the left goal post (or right goal post from Anderson's point of view) as a goalie can possibly be. Anderson's stick was even showing on the wide-side of the post, this is how committed he was. Callahan being a righty, Anderson was perfectly set-up for Callahan to stop skating to the boards and glide towards the center, bring the puck from the backhand to the forehand and deposit the puck past Anderson's glove side. Any skilled right-handed goal-scorer would have done so.
Instead, Callahan avoided Phillips who was challenging from two-steps behind by continuing to skate to the back boards (strength element - uncheck). Callahan then routinely backhanded a weak wrist shot into Anderson's wheelhouse and Anderson, with obviously no traffic in front of him because Callahan was behind the D, calmly caught the puck in his chest (skill and traffic elements - uncheck). Anderson held the puck for a stoppage, and Callahan oddly skated back toward the bench yelling something at his teammate / coach or maybe it was a ref.
Was Callahan too distracted about potentially complaining to a ref that he just wanted to find a stoppage so that he could yell at one? Notwithstanding how cynical it would be for someone to believe that, Callahan is not that guy. He's a focueds and determined player.
Was Callahan expecting a teammate at center and when he didn't come he was too confused to score the puck? If so, that would explain his confusion going to the bench. Maybe he didn't think a line-change was called and he thought he had his guys coming in the slot on the opposite side.
Was Callahan a microcosm of the NYR offense in that the team continues to squander scoring chances with unskilled, predictable hockey? This seems like the most likely answer.
Feel free to leave your thoughts below, or any other theories that would explain why we have scored 3 goals against Craig Anderson in the last three games. Craig Anderson?????????