Thursday, May 1, 2008

Someone really was screwed

Halifax fans have been waiting for answers about why our team imploded in the QMJHL semifinals and we have been waiting for someone to 'finally' step up and be accountable for this team. The team held its press conference on Wednesday, unfortunately neither the owner nor coach could attend, thus leaving GM Marcel Patenaude to field all questions. His answers didn't help to clarify who was responsible for the team's situation and ultimate downfall, but it did clarify that this bunch of grown-ups could not control a bunch of kids (even though that is their job). They figure that better utilization of a sports psychologist for future seasons is something the organization should consider.

But here is the kicker for me. I have read quotes from Patenaude in the Metro. When I ask "who was screwed?" I expect a goalie to raise his hand. I shouldn't have expected more from this team; the goaltending situation has been mismanaged for the greater part of a year. Apparently they were going to play P-O (the boy who should have been the starter for the playoffs) for game 4, but owner Bobby Smith made them change their minds. They did not want Yeti to feel like the blame for losing game three was solely on him (we lost 6-1, Yeti had a 0.83 save %). At what point during that 4th game did they decide that loyalty was still more important than winning, was it after Yeti let in one goal at 15 seconds, how about after allowing two goals on 6 shots in 4 minutes, what about 3 goals on 12 shots in 14 minutes. How hard-headed can these coaches, owners and GM be? I thought that once the game started, all decisions were in the hands of coach Russell, so if he originally wanted to run with P-O, why did he leave Yeti in nets? This is especially perplexing considering that P-O looked so slick when he took over between the pipes at the end of game 3.

I am just going to pull a chunk from the Metro and post it here:

**** On the decision to start Pier-Olivier Pelletier in goal in Game 4, before reversing the decision and going back to Mark Yetman.

“That decision was made by Bobby.”

Follow-up: Can you explain that?

“We felt that maybe a goalie change would be the appropriate move and Bobby felt the night before Mike Keenan took off (Miikka) Kiprusoff (in the NHL and in Calgary) and he felt no we’re not going with that. Mark Yetman brought us to the end of the season and he should be the goalie who finishes the season and he should be the goalie that finishes the season.”

Follow-up: “So you and Cam told Pelletier he was in the next day?”


Follow-up: “And then Bobby stepped in?”

“Yes. When I mentioned it to Bobby, I’ll take part of the blame (for) not informing Bobby of the situation. Pelletier was very upset but we made him understand that maybe we were wrong and that Yetman deserved to play because he brought us there.”

Follow-up: So you and Cam were 100 per cent that Pelletier was going in?

“One hundred per cent. For us, it was more a situation of respect for Pelletier, to give him a chance to finish his career, and it happened, unfortunately, Bobby felt, and I think, he felt that Yetman should finish the season. He started (the playoffs), he was the key guy, and he felt it wasn’t appropriate to take him off and put the blame on him that we lost Game 3.”

Follow-up: How did Pelletier react?

“Pelletier was upset and we talked with him and we discussed it with him.”

So when Patenaude says "Mark Yetman brought us to the end of the season and he should be the goalie who finishes the season", does this mean that it wasn't only the team that quit, but that management also gave up on this team before game 4. Who was to say that game 4 was the end of the series before the game even started? I do not think the problem lies solely with the self motivation of the players when the management clearly has an attitude problem themselves.

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