I will have a more detailed look at tonight’s loss tomorrow. We will get into the goals and the fights and the hits. I will also update the status of a couple Bombers players who were injured over the course of the game. Hopefully they are okay. But I want to get something off my chest first.
It’s about the people who will revel in the Stars current losing streak. You know them. You will see them around rinks in the SJHL tomorrow. Or on twitter. Or on message boards. They will be enjoying the struggles of these young men far more than they should. They will say things like, “I knew they weren’t that good” and “they were winning with smoke and mirrors.” And other ridiculous comments of that nature. So this post is directed at those people.
The Stars are a good team going through a rough patch. They are a good group of young men who have worked hard to get where they are so far this season. No one is giving them anything. No one is crowning them as champions. And no one should be writing them off either.
(I want to make it clear I am not defending the North Stars recent play. They haven’t been good enough and they know it.)
Earlier in the season people were writing off the Humboldt Broncos. They weren’t the only team either. La Ronge wasn’t good enough I heard people say after two weeks of the season. Right now people are talking about the Melville Millionaires and their struggles. Estevan were riding high a month ago. They aren’t right now. Both are good teams capable of bouncing back and being very formidable. Nipawin couldn’t be beat early on. Then couldn’t win for a while after that. Which team are they? We still don’t know.
The point is hockey season’s aren’t won and lost in November or December. I was defending Humboldt to anyone who would listen a month or two ago. “Give them time to figure out their lineup” and “they are going to be good” were common statements I made dozens of times. The Broncos haven’t lost in regulation in nearly a month. You simply can’t judge a team on a two or three week period and you definitely can’t judge them on a 3 game period.
The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup last year. During the regular season they had a 3 game losing streak where they were blown out by a good Detroit team. They year before the Blackhawks had a 3 game losing skid during which they lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 8-3. What is my point? Good teams go through rough patches. Now I am not saying the North Stars are going to win the SJHL championship. No one knows what’s going to happen come playoff time. There are a lot of good teams, players and coaches in the SJHL. A lot of very strong teams in the Bauer. And any of 5 teams in the North could get hot at the right time and win it all.
After tonight’s game no one is going to say the Bombers will win it all. They might win it all because they have a very good team and are led by a very good coaching staff. But this one result doesn’t mean they are the team to beat in the SJHL. It doesn’t mean they are going to win it all. Just like their loss the night before at the hands of Nipawin didn’t mean they definitely fail to win the championship. These are the ups and downs of a long regular season. Teams are never as good as wins make them seem and never as bad as losing makes it appear.
So the critics will sharpen their knives and start carving this team. In fact I am sure they’ve already started. Let me just say these last few things. First of all you don’t win hockey games with smoke and mirrors. You don’t win 9 in a row with smoke and mirrors and you certainly don’t win 13 in a row by smoke and mirrors. You also don’t lose 3 in a row because of bad luck. Teams win games because they earned them through hard work. The Stars won 13 in a row earlier this season because night in and night out they were winning battles, out working and out competing their opponents.
The last few nights the Stars have been outworked and outplayed and they have lost. They are embarrassed. Coach Hasselberg said those exact words after the game. He said as a staff and as a team they have to figure out the problem and work hard to fix it. I am sure they will. Because no matter what the gloaters will say this team isn’t as bad as it looks right now. The sun will come up tomorrow and when it does the Stars will still be on top of the SJHL standings. And they’ll have to put their work boots on to make sure they stay there.
Of course none of what I just wrote will stop certain people from basking in delight because the North Stars are losing. Some people will revel in any good team losing. Humboldt, La Ronge, Weyburn or any other team will go through a rough patch and people will take great pleasure in those struggles. Perhaps that’s the nature of fandom. I just personally don’t like it.