I think the general assumption of fans watching the third period of a lopsided victory spiral into violent thuggery is “frustration.” The players are frustrated, and they’re taking our their frustrations.
The players on the losing team are frustrated – quite, in fact – but it’s more than that. There’s a few reasons teams don’t choose to quietly run the clock out, tuck their tails between their legs and retire to the dressing room. This is not a defense of what they do as much as it is an explanation of what you’re seeing.
So, your team is down five goals with half a period to play. Here’s what the guys on the bench are dealing with.
When the Toronto Maple Leafs were getting wholly routed by the Boston Bruins in Game 1 (not so much on the scoreboard as overall), you’ll note that Colton Orr ended up playing over eight minutes, roughly two minutes more than he’d normally average. You’d expect him to get less time in a playoff game, but with the game out of reach, coaches start looking for players who aren’t rolling over, for those who “want it.” Read the rest of this entry »