Knights' goal-scoring woes irritant for veteran players

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:47 PM ET

Same old, same old. Another pointless weekend for the London Knights, in more ways than one.

Not only did the Knights fail to garner any points from two games but they don’t appear to have solved any of their problems.

That leads me to believe they don’t have what they need to fix their myriad of problems.

The Knights lost a 4-1 decision to the Whalers Saturday in Plymouth, having their usual trouble scoring goals.

In their last three games, the Knights have scored four goals. Against the Whalers, they had only 21 shots on net.

The Knights were coming off a 4-1 loss to the Mississauga St. Mike’s Majors in London on Friday.

After their win in Owen Sound on Wednesday, the Knights wanted to put a streak together.

That didn’t happen.

Scoring is the obvious problem. Scoring goals takes skill and determination. If you are not scoring goals the implication is obvious.

The power play continues to struggle. While they scored two power-play goals in two games, coach Dale Hunter continues to look for a working combination. It’s safe to say he has tried dozens of units and nothing works.

The Knights inconsistency is enough to drive the coaching staff crazy.

One day the team looks like it gets it, the next two games it looks as if aliens have replaced the players with an new group.

That inconsistency was especially clear Saturday when the best player on the ice was Chris Tierney, the Knights’ first pick in last year’s draft back from his first game in almost a month after a concussion.

Through all the haziness and uncertainty, the reality is clear. The Knights don’t have enough talent.

“We’re not generating offence because we aren’t winning our battles,” said Knights’ assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu after the loss to Plymouth.

“It’s about hard work and playing desperate hockey. We have to generate more offence.”

How?

“We have to generate offence by getting pucks out of our zone clean and we aren’t doing it,” he said.

“We end up flipping pucks, going off the glass because we aren’t winning battles. We have weak sticks.”

Which brings me to the power play.

“We’re trying everything,” Beaulieu said. “We tried to get the puck behind the net and it worked . . . but we didn’t score. We can design everything, but the kids have to score.”

Power play success is about discipline and skill. If the power play isn’t working the implication is obvious.

The way this season is taking shape is frustrating some players especially veterans such as team captain Michael D’Orazio.

“We need to do something different than we did tonight that’s for sure,” he said.

“It’s the same story, different day. Me and a few of the guys are getting sick and tired of it. Being our last year in the league, we’re trying to get the team together and gel, play our systems, but we have so many mental lapses it costs us goals game in and game out.”

D’Orazio also is clear when asked if he feels everyone is working hard enough.

“No,” he says.

D’Orazio believes it’s time for everyone to evaluate their performances.

“I assume everyone wants to be a pro hockey player,” he said. “To be a pro hockey player you don’t need a kick in the butt to go. It’s your job. If you want to put food on your table, if you guys want to learn how to play at the next level, you have to learn to play pretty quick. It’s a stepping stone.”

It’s time for management to evaluate what they want to do, but whatever it is, it should be done quickly because right now, the Knights are in a fight to make the playoffs.


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