The Mourning After

Posted on November 17, 2013 

      First thoughts upon waking up this morning: today absolutely has to be a better sports day than yesterday...right?

      Ya'all know I'm a huge Georgia fan. The miracle/devastating play occurred minutes before the Snakes game began. So, I was still trying to recover, but looking forward to an exciting evening of hockey. Or not.

      The Cottonmouths limp home from an erratic road trip. A come-from-behind-to-tie but then OTL to the MSRK on Friday was followed by a game in which nothing...and I mean absolutely nothing...went right.

      Knoxville and Columbus have a 10-year history plus more recent familiarity. A pair of exhibition games plus three regular-season games...and it's only mid-November! The Ice Bears came to town for the Snakes home opener and took away a one-goal win. They returned a week later and did the same thing. Saturday night, the Cottonmouths traveled to Knoxville for the first time this season.

      I'd wondered if the small ice surface would bother the new guys. You can be warned but not fully appreciate the difference until you see it or, in their case, play on it. Remember 2004-2005? The Snakes had no regular-season wins there, only a crucial one in the playoffs.

      If the mini-rink was a problem, it was quickly obscured by a plethora of others. One headline I saw used the verb mauled. Now I love colorful descriptives as much as the next person, but manhandled and thumped are usually as strong as I get. In this case, mauled (9-4) was pretty accurate.

     I've racked my brain to come up with somebody who really stood out last night. Somebody I could say had a really good game. Uh...thinking, but nothing's coming. I think Jordan Braid said it best on twitter: "You know it was a bad game when your parents don't even text you after." 

      Still trying to be positive: Levi Lind was the only player who scored multiple points. One goal (a shortie) and one assist. Levi is quietly putting up great numbers. He's currently tied with Matt Gingera for the Snakes' scoring lead with 9 points in 8 GP. I say quietly because Levi isn't a flashy player. Just goes about his business and flies under the radar. All who've been hoping for a return to his rookie-of-the-year-candidate season, you just may have your wish.

      The scoresheet reflects the mauling pretty accurate. Take a look at it. These are numbers you won't see often: -4, -3 and 9 GA. Yikes. But while we're focusing on the positive, somehow in this debacle, Tory Allen and Jordan Zalba are +1. Good for them!

       I know ya'all are hollering about my story in the paper this morning about Travis Bosch and his roller coaster ride. 5GA, 0 and now 9. Wow. The only thing I can say for 100% certainty is that when you look at the final boxscore, despite the goalie being the last line of defense, there's no way you can say all 9 goals were Travis' fault.  

      One may have been kicked in. He was screened on another and one came on the power play. Again, I file the disclaimer that I can't see the whole ice on the web. I can't see the play unfold or the d-men's position.

      But I can tell you that the defense didn't have a stellar night. Its veteran leader was -3 and you know as well as I do that Tom Maldonado isn't happy about that. Tom's frustration boiled over late in the game when he was called for roughing a guy he gave up about 6 inches to. Yikes.

     Before ya'all think I'm throwing Tom under the bus, he had plenty of company statistically. At -4 were Matt, Dan Bremner, Mike Switzer and Kyle Johnson. Levi was also -3.

     Back to the positives. Tory Allan has been a key addition to this team. With Orrin Hergott-like speed and good instincts, Tory has gotten off to a great start. 

     Another positive is finally getting a puck (or 4) past Bryan Hince, who's been the Snakes' nemesis since last season.

     Today's game should tell us a lot about the character of this team. It's also a test for the Snakes' leadership group. Kyle wears the C and Tom and Levi are assistant captains. Not really familiar yet with these guys' leadership styles. Don't know if there's a big lockerroom speech...or any speech at all. They may just say it's over. It's a new day.

     Huntsville comes to town this afternoon also playing its third game in three nights. While the Snakes gained a point for the OTL on Friday, the Havoc lost both games, a 2-0 shutout to Knoxville and 4-1 to the RiverKings. Huntsville is 4-3-1 and the Snakes 3-4-1. Should be a good matchup, with the Snakes' home ice advantage tipping the odds in their favor.

     Stay tuned.

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