After dropping the first 2 games of the postseason to Detroit in a laughable fashion, the pressure is on Jim Playfair now to either show his coaching skill, or face losing his job.
The calls for his departure as head coach of the Flames have started, and the only thing that will really quiet these calls is 4 Calgary wins in the next 5 games.
Is that likely to happen? Probably not.
The Flames have a talented team with offensive punch, a great goaltender and a solid defensive line. But watching Playfair’s leadership decisions in the first 2 games of the series vs. Detroit brings some questions to my mind.
For example… in game 2, Detroit was on a 5-on-3 powerplay when Stefane Yelle got the puck. He attempted the weakest backhand clearing attempt I’ve seen in a long time and gave the puck right back to the Wings defenceman. This boggle was followed directly by a goal where Roman Hamrlik’s best effort to stop the point shot was to stand in one spot (not in the line of fire, by the way) and to put his stick out. Well his stick was very effective in deflecting Niklaus Lidstrom’s shot past Miikka Kiprusoff.
My question is: why were these guys not benched?
I realise that Yelle is the #1 faceoff guy on the team and Hamrlik is needed on defence with Regehr out… but maybe benching these 2 guys would have sent a message to Kristian Huselius that slacking off is not an option in the playoffs. Then maybe he would have skated a little harder and got in front of Filppula instead of letting him walk in uncontested and get the sweet rebound for Detroit’s 3rd goal.
Example #2: How about 5 stupid penalties in the first 8 minutes of the game. How is a team supposed to get any momentum with that. After the 2nd penalty, Playfair should have told the bench that the next person to take a penalty in the first period would be sitting out for the rest of the game.
It is the culmination of all these little errors that causes the Flames to consistently have to come back from 2 goal defecits, and scramble to survive when they should be dominating this Detroit Red Wings team on both ends of the ice.