Hockey can be frustrating. In no other sport can you do almost everything right, but small cracks in the armor can have an oversized impact when properly arranged. Whether it’s going 0-0 on the powerplay, failing to make the right save at the right time, or letting the wrong odd-man rush game-winning goal in overtime, facing too many hot goalies on the other side in a week. Suddenly it feels like all the good things a team does have been washed away.
Or you can just boot it into your own net if you feel like it.
Basically, for Pittsburgh so far, it’s found ways to lose games it should be winning, sinking into the wildcard race and trailing by five points, needing to climb over four teams to get back into contention.
While Pens fans not only curse the gods for making the sport this way, the rest of their wrath is directed at Ryan Graves, who has spent half the season torpedoing Kris Letang and the other half torpedoing Erik Karlsson when paired with him. Both Letang and Karlsson see an increase of five to seven percentage points in their metrics when they escape the clutches of Graves and his forays in his own zone. You don’t have to know what the game score is in hockey to understand that that’s total BS:
However, that doesn’t mean the Pens have to score on their own. Time is running out, and this ship urgently needs to be turned around.
Tough Night for Kostyuk
Coco Gauff came out victorious in her quarterfinal match at the Aussie Open last night, and sometimes a player just has to push through. Both she and Marta Kostyuk were very scratchy. Neither could buy a first serve for much of the match, meaning they were just handing each other service breaks like a joint. Kostyuk managed to break Gauff’s forehand down by repeatedly drilling the ball to that side, but in the third set, Gauff did everything to break Kostyuk’s game.
Ukrainian Kostyuk looked like she wanted to put her head through a wall for most of the match, threw her racket a couple of times, and begged after every error (of which there were many, 56, to be exact) into her player’s box. The ESPN broadcast didn’t hesitate to point out that Kostyuk is reputed in the locker room for being mentally easily frazzled, and that she’s „mentally unstable“ on the court, and that’s for more than a few reasons.
Keeping it together between the ears may be the biggest part of tennis, but those who are calling might want to keep in mind that Kostyuk is just 21 years old, but there’s also . . . It feels like she has more to deal with than most other players currently on tour.
I’ve heard that Luka Doncic has been working on his defense this season. Jaylen Brown apparently hasn’t.
Considering that a player scored 62 and another scored 70 points last night, Doncic can afford to take solace in the fact that the NBA is in a midseason malaise where many people don’t find debauchery laid out for them in defensive effort. Still, try not to get sucked into it, Luka.
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