Saturday, January 22, 2011

Something's gotta give.

I understand that the Halifax Mooseheads are a young team. I think the fans understand they're a young team.

The average age of the Mooseheads is 17.7 years old. That's pretty young. But it's hard... oh so hard... to keep hearing that excuse about the team when you look to our neighbours in New Brunswick.

The Saint John Sea Dogs average age is... 18.1

I kid you not.

The Saint John Sea Dogs with an average age that is 0.4 more than the so-called "young" Halifax Mooseheads are #1 in the country. They've been #1 in the country for several weeks now. They had four players play in the prospects game earlier this week. They had nine players on the NHL central scouting prospects list. They went to the QMJHL finals last year!

Yes I understand that the Mooseheads mortgaged their future in the Brad Marchand deal a few years back (don't get me started on that). General Manager Marcel Patenaude paid with his job... and the fans paid with watching a non-playoff team for two seasons striaght.

However -- is that really still the team's excuse? Really? As the boys on Monday Night Football say: "C'mon man!"

Find. a. way.

Is the team really better off since Bobby Smith unceremoniously removed Cam Russell from the head coaching duties and crowned himself Coach for Life?

That was a rhetorical question... but the answer is a big resounding: NO.

The players on this team are better then they're playing. I really can't blame them, though. They are young, which means they need excellent direction.
There was a lot of optimism in the Bobby Smith camp going into the Christmas break. The Mooseheads strung together three wins. Countem, three. Well plan the parade route.

In an interview during the Christmas break, Smith said we should expect to see a different team in the second half of the season.

Yah, it's different alright.

In the last seven games the Mooseheads have one point (which was for a shootout loss, by the way, and therefore I choose not to count it). The important stat in this case is they've been outscored 45 - 16.

I'm not kidding... 45-16. Shall I say it again?

45-16.

I need a beer.

This is the same team that during the first half of the season were managing to lose at least some close games. Now they're getting blown out. To me that says the players are checked-out. They do not want to play for Smith.

And sources inside the locker room say they're disallusioned. Guys are frustrated with the coaching situation. And guys' confidence in their own play is waning because everyone around them has checked-out.

There are talented players on this team. In the recent World U-17 tournament, Luca Ciampini led Team Quebec in scoring. Andrew Ryan who was playing on 5th place Team Atlantic finished 5th in overall scoring.

Martin Frk has a boatload of talent. Terenzio can stop pucks if someone would just help him out.

Either Bobby Smith needs to remove himself from coaching and find an experienced and inspirational coach who knows how to deal with a young team (Shawn MacKenzie, you out there!?!) or there needs to be a coup d'├ętat.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

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