For those who know me, I’m a big “X’s and Os” kind of guy when discussing hockey. I enjoy sitting a little higher at the game so I can see the plays develop and get a good overall feel of the game. Don’t get me wrong, I love sitting front row behind the net and seeing exactly how fast the game is and how talented the players are, but it’s tough to see the game develop. Hence, why all the scouts sit way up high.
I’m going to do another “analytical” post here, this time discussing Tomas “THE SOUSE” Tatar’s first NHL goal (for explanation of why I call Tatar “THE SOUSE”, please read the bottom of this post from February). I’ve done this before, both on Octopus Thrower (Gustav Nyquist!) and on my own site before OP (here). I figure if I want to do more of these posts in the future, might as well practice on an older, yet very awesome, goal. GO SOUSE! And…here we go!
Let’s take a look at the goal:
Not the best quality, but it shows the entire play from one angle, which the other ones on the YouTube machine failed at. Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?
Sadly, the screenshots from YouTube are a bit blurry, but you get the point. Here, we have Tatar skating after a loose puck with an Islanders defenseman. The puck is right by the Miller Lite ad on the boards if you can’t see it. The puck is going on a path behind the net. The Islanders are in good shape if number 36 would drop to the opposite corner for a D to D pass.
Tatar does a good job of 1) not killing the Islanders player from behind and 2) getting his stick on the puck. As you can see, #36 for NYI decides to cover the front of the net. Never a bad play, perhaps, but it does leave his partner alone with Mr. Souse. Never a good sign.
The Islanders defenseman manages to chip the puck behind the net, but the combination of Tatar being awesome and the other d-man not being in position. Tatar now has help, as Draper has come to help seal off the boards. Now, ready for some more awesomeness?
Seeing that Drapes has entered into the play, Souse makes a great hustle play and dives at the puck. He’s hoping to if not get the puck right to Drapes, at least move it away from the d-man so the becomes a 50/50 puck. Sadly, the Islanders player chips the puck past Draper to the point.
Rafalski comes in on the boards to fight for the puck. Tatar is going from behind the net and watching the puck, seeing if he needs to get back if the puck clears or drive the net.
Raffi and Drapes do some good work on the boards to gain control of the puck. Helm, who was covering back for Rafalski, gets the puck (miraculously not losing it with his hands of stone) and sees what’s happening. In the picture above, Souse is the red blur closer to the net, while Drapes is the blur by the faceoff dot.
I know it’s really hard to see, but I tried to get the screenshot of right when the puck hits Tatar’s stick off Helm’s shot. Wait for it…
(ugh, my MS-Paint skills are not exactly…good) Yes, that is exactly how THE SOUSE planned on his first ever NHL goal happening. No arguments here. Ahem. And now, ready for the best reaction ever?
“Fly with me, forever high. And with these WINGS, we’ll set the world on fire!” – Symphony X – Set The World On Fire (great tune!) You know what else is great? The celebration. Souse totally rules. Oh right I’m supposed to be objective and not a fan when writing these things oh well deal with it for a few sentences.
In conclusion, this goal was scored because:
- The Souse made a great hustle play to force BOTH Islanders d-men into quick plays
- Rafalski had a good pinch and, along with Draper, did a good job of gaining control of the puck
- Helm covered for Rafalski and didn’t lose control of the puck
- The Souse went to the front of the net, thus, creating a good bounce and getting the game-tying goal
The Current State Of THE SOUSE:
As far as Tatar playing on the Wings…I’ve said it before and I will say it again right now: It’s a damn shame he didn’t get at least 5 or so games with the big club this year. I know he’s small, but he works his @$$ off every single shift and is more than willing to go to the dirty areas. According to this post on Mlive, Holland says Tatar is likely spending another season in Grand Rapids. I understand he needs to play more minutes, but I still think he needs to play against better players. At a minimum, he needs 15-20 games in the NHL this season to see where he’s at. And this time, I hope he plays some minutes with the big boys (Hank, Pav, etc.) and not the fourth line.
As has been reported numerous places, it looks like Hudler is gone. I’ve always thought Tatar should be taking over for Hudler. I know Hudler has better hands right now, but could you imagine Hudler on the goal I diagrammed above? Hudler never would have made it into the corner to force the first defenseman into turning the puck over. The Souse seems to always work hard and is capable of playing in all situations, at least in the minors. He’s not as gifted with the puck as Hudler or Nyquist (yet), but I think he’s just about NHL ready. I’m hoping he’ll have an awesome Training Camp and Exhibition Season to force the Wings to keep him on at least the top 3 lines. I do agree that he shouldn’t be playing on the fourth line or be a healthy scratch.
And there you have it – my analysis of Tomas Tatar’s first NHL goal as well as some additional thoughts on The Souse. You know the drill – yell at me on the Twitter device if you agree or think I missed something. Also – if you like these kind of analytical posts, link me ot a goal and I will possibly do a post on it. Hockey is awesome.