Welcome everyone to another edition of the Neutral Zone. I am your guy the one and only Sandin and these are your top stories of Week 3 in the NZHL. We had a lot of stuff to talk about this week but in my opinion these were the top headlines so let us get started.
5) TROUBLE IN ALCOHOOLIGAN LAND
The Alcohooligans are 1 game above .500. The traded one of their guys they believed would have a breakout season in Elmer before week 3 games started.. This team was built on chemistry as it was stated. After the games on Saturday they made a big deal sending 2nd round pick and defenseman Toe Dragons out the door. Later on we see 18 million dollar man Coach015 placed on waivers and sent to TC. Now I do not have the entire story of what happened but my understanding was Shrimp was trying to package both out the door and they couldn’t. I have no idea what sparked the implode of this squad but this is not a pretty sight. Coach and Toe were the key parts to this roster makeup and now what is next?. Thanx and Ders have a history of playing together so maybe the offense is salvaged a little bit but Coach was one of their top scorers on the team. Thanx only played 2 games this week and had 1 assist. Adding Stump and Kibberts does give them a little flexibility on their blue line but is the team better? Time will tell.
4) FLAT TIRES ON THE TRUCKS
This is quite surprising. The Trucks started the season 8-0 and since then have only won 1 game since Thursday of Week 2 and have now become one of the most penalized teams in the NZHL. No question that the wingers in Willy and Miller are the offense on this team and that is the problem. Their centers are not producing and you need your centers to produce offense. Flare and Bruin have only 8 points in the last 2 weeks and that is awful. But it is not just the offense anymore this team is struggling to stop goals from going in. The Trucks in week 1 only allowed 11 goals in week 2 they gave up 19 and in week 3 they gave up 23. This is a rising trend that no team wants to see. Keiran is putting up Vezina type numbers but he is part time goalie so Pens is counted on for 4 games a week and since February 25, Pens has gone 0-8 and finished above .800 once in those games and only allowed under 4 goals once. Turk and Marty need to take this time off and think maybe we need to make a move and it might have to involve one of their top scoring wingers cause as of right now their centreman play is not even at average and you need your centers in the playoffs and Keiran can only play 2 games in a 7 game series.
3) WILL THE AVERAGE JOES DEPTH BE A ROADBLOCK?
The Average Joes have had an awesome last 2 weeks thanks to their top line in Brandon, Yates, Heisman, Atrocity and Duggie no question. But when the Joes need to go to Matthews, Rico, Notre Dame and every other player it has not been a good day. The Joes are scoring in bunches when they have their top guys out but struggle to score any goals with their second line. Joes need to figure this out because you can not be a one line team in the playoffs. Getting outplayed by the Smoking beerz secondary players is not a pretty sight. The Joes released a player off their roster immediately after those games. Now I am not one to take Jon serious but he released an article about the Joes locker room situation and I do not know if it is true or false but a part of me feels there is a little bit of frustration and things might have been said during the nature of competition. Not sure what Gators and Trocity are thinking today but they have to be discussing their depth come playoffs.
2) SMOKIN BEERZ HAD A SOLID WEEK BUT………………
No question the Beerz had one of the best weeks for teams this week. The additions of Clarke and Kempe seemed to have made the team defense better for sure. Now I may sound like the bad guy but I need to look at reality here. The Joes threw out their top line against a pathetic looking Memphis line on Thursday then played the Joes second line on Friday and split against the Lions. 5-1 is no small thing but this team collected 10 points and still are not in a playoff spot. Can the Beers continue to win consistently because we all know it is not about what you did last week but what you are doing this week. Vengy and Green are studs and I said they give this team their best shot at 2 wins every week. I did say that the Beerz are in “ Play guys to finish out the season mode “ and for this week at least they are making me eat my words. Let’s see how they do after week 4 when they have games against the Chiefs and the Dumpstars and I have got to imagine that you will see all the top guys in those games. I am rooting for Nicky and Totz to do well so good luck.
- NEW LOOKING SQUAD, SAME LOOKING PROBLEMS
I really don’t want to keep talking about this but this team continues to be the story of the league. After making a whole bunch of moves thinking they might have solved the issues and then nope. I will say Shieldzzzy is a stud and he did his part to help this team but then what?. They shipped Clarke and Kempe and then got clamped by them the first games after the trade only scoring 2 goals total and allowing 12. Memphis went 2-4 this week and blew a big lead to the Chiefs on Saturday then losing in OT. I did a deep dive on their defense struggles and this was an interesting face. Every D man that they have traded away or traded for had better numbers defensively and offensively when they were not in Memphis. Furry was a positive takeaway and giveaway defender and this week he had 27 turnovers to his 7 takeaways. Obi only played 2 games but saw his highest number of turnovers this season in games. My only answer is that the forwards are not supporting the dmen or the forwards are not controlling the puck or cycling it. I have played against this team and they clearly were playing like a rush team. Rak and Mikey need to really change the way they play the game or things will stay the same.
Well guys that is a wrap. These were the top stories to me in Week 3. Hope you all enjoyed the read. This has been your boy Sandin saying enjoy the time off and remember whatever you choose to do in life, Make sure to KEEP IT NEUTRAL. Peace y’all