Yesterday, Backlund, at some point in the game, I can't quite remember, found himself in front of the LA Kings net with a puck on his stick and Quick on his tummy. The top half of the net was as wide open as the prairies. All the kid had to do was lift the puck.
Which, as we all know, he didn't. The puck, if I remember correctly, didn't even get off the ice before it slid harmlessly into Quick's pads.
Here is the thing: Anybody could make that shot. Lifting the puck into the upper half of a net from five feet away isn't really hard. Anybody can do it. It's not a skill issue.
What makes that play 'hard', or at least, hard for Backlund, is the moment. The pressure, if you will, got to the kid. He is holding his stick too tight, and all those cliches.
Certain segments of sports-fandom like to pretend invisible, intangible forces like confidence don't exist or don't have any effect on the game, but these people are obviously wrong, and the Backlund miss is just another example our of a million. Maybe they haven't played the game. I don't know.
But what I do know, or rather what I think I know, is that it looks like #11 is having confidence issue's. The inability to lift that puck was the manifestation of it.
How do we get Backlund confident?
You can't send him down to the AHL, not with the Flames roster, and besides, to do that to him at this point would probably hurt his confidence anyways. So that option is out. His powerplay time could be increased. He is currently averaging about a minute of PP time per game.
That could do it. I know of only a couple of ways to get a man to stick his chest out, and of those few ways, I know of no better way than to score.
But even increased PP time isn't a guaranteed way to get lucky. Jarome and Cammalleri, one would assume, will be taking the majority of shots on the PP. And assists are nice, but at the end of the day, is it really more fun to watch?
So it is in that vein that I implore the good puck bunnies of this city: Step up. Step up to the Swede, I say, and get that boy's thoughts off misses, and onto kisses.
Being Swedish, and young, and rich, and a hockey player, I am assuming he already has a girl. I don't care; she obviously is doing him, err, it, wrong. A change of scenery, (or in this case, boobery) if you will, may do the boy a world of good. A change in landscape; a change in his land skanks.
Hey, it worked for Pronger. (Allegedly.)
Furthermore, I think