I picked up PF Chang's after the game tonight and my fortune said, "Failure is the mother of success." I think that's a decent metaphor for the Aeros 8-2 loss to OKC tonight. And that was Drew Bagnall's take on the game as well. It's one of 80 and you learn more from the losses than the wins.
I wanted to talk about Hackett a little bit, but I do it somewhat hesitantly because he's been through the ringer today and deserves some patience. I hope to write this really as a waypoint in his professional journey, not a profile of what kind of goalie Matt is. If there's anything I've learned as a goalie myself, it's that path to improvement is not a straight line, even for the most talented tenders .
As I've mentioned before, the rule of writing about goalies is that as soon as you write something criticizing them, they pitch a shutout. And if you write something praising them, they stink in their next outing. It's just the law of hockey writing. But Hackett apparently missed that memo and did exactly what I wrote about for a goalie scouting report a couple of weeks ago.
Basically what I wrote was that he drifts too deep in his net in 1-on-0 situations, rather than challenging or holding his ground. He plays smaller than he is and he's gotta find the confidence to step up and be big or he's going to struggle. I wrote this based on limited footage and the skills competition, so I was worried he'd prove me wrong today, but I saw this play out several times.
It's all mental, of course, like almost everything in goaltending, and he's overall a very talented and technically-sound goalie. This loss was part Hackett, part teamFAIL, and part quicksand. Which is to say, there comes a point where you're so deep in the hole, you start to feel like your legs are heavier and you're tired and unfocused and you get so tense for every shot that you're paralyzed.
Aside: I wish I didn't know about this so personally, but I do. :)
Anyway, they're all pros, so I'm sure it doesn't hit them as hard as it hits a bender like me, but human is human.
Bagnall was good on his part in the meltdown, basically falling on the sword for letting his frustrations getting to him after the goal that he "assisted" on. I think the rest of the team would join him if we'd asked. John touched on this a little more in his post. I'm just proud of myself for hearing what he was saying enough to paraphrase it, and also not blushing. Go me!
The boys are practicing (a lot, we hope) until another 3 in 3 this weekend that's basically at home as far as travel fatigue goes. Fri/Sun at home and Saturday a quick jaunt up I-10 to San Antonio. I'll be there and will throw up some thoughts on it on Sunday.
On a positive note, Ally Jurden's rendition of the national anthem was magnificent. Nice to hear her lovely voice again. Way to go, Ally!
Also? Unsung hero thus far: Marco Scandella. He hasn't done one single thing to annoy me and more often than not, when some d-man gets his stick in a passing lane and saves a shot on goal, and I go, "Who was that?" it was Scandella. Rock on, young man.