For someone who scored four goals in a game, it’s interesting that Matt Vokes best deflection didn’t come on the ice, but in the locker room after the game.
You may remember that Vokes was in front of the net on the Trenton Devils second goal, which was fired from the left point by Tim Kunes. The puck appeared to have deflected in off of Vokes, which would actually give him five goals, which would also tie him for the franchise record with Mathieu Brunelle (1/31/04 vs. Augusta).
When I mentioned to Vokes that the puck appeared to go in off of him, he said he didn’t want to talk about it, and then deflected all the attention to his teammates…
“Whenever you have a skilled player like Chris Poli on our power play, guys like Slavomir Tomko and Tim Kunes, guys who have real patience with the puck, it’s my job to just be in front, and that makes my job so easy,” Vokes told me.
“I don’t have to worry about them turning the puck over. Poli’s missed more than half of the year due to injuries, he’s had bad luck. But when he comes back, he has patience along the wall. He has poise, he knows what to do with the puck. I played with Chris when we were eight years old. I played with him growing up, we’re both from Massachusetts, I played with him in college…being able to have that trust. And then having Tomko and Kunes, excellent playmakers…Kunes, he gets the puck and he waits, he waits, he waits, the goalie goes down and that’s when he shoots. He’s got a great head on his shoulders. We’ve got a lot of guys that do little things that don’t show up in the scoresheet. Jeremy Akeson plays the body when the pucks in the zone, little things like that. Stuff that the team is buying into now that we didn’t necessarily in the first half of the year, whether it be due to injuries or whatnot. Seems like we’re playing together at the right time.”
So, how does this relate to Martin Brodeur? Well, as you know, Brodeur gave up four goals in the USA’s upset win over Canada in the preliminary round. Instead of placing blame on himself for overplaying the puck at times or giving credit to the USA for getting the win, Brodeur instead expressed disappointment over how his teammates didn’t follow the lead of his “key saves” and chastized his team for taking penalties…
“It was a tough game,” Brodeur said. “I think they got some bounces to score some goals. Had one go off my player. I made some key saves I thought in the game to turn it around, we just didn’t take advantage of it. After the two breakaway saves I made in the second, I feel that maybe something’s going to happen and we went on to take three penalties in a row from there.”
Curiously, Roberto Luongo will be replacing Brodeur between the pipes for today’s elimination round game.
Devils fans, start your criticism of me…now!
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com