Friday, September 25, 2009

I saw Sens hockey!

Holy crow, a live Sens game on TV and I saw it! Bless you, NHL Network.

My thoughts on the game tonight


- Erik Karlsson. Sure he made a few mistakes, but the great offensive instincts far outweigh the occasional booboo. If he's paired with a responsible player like Kuba, he'll be able to get away with it while he learns. He made a few passes that we just haven't seen in Ottawa. Ever. It was so great to see defencemen jumping into the play like he and Campoli were doing all night. As Pynch and I discussed during the game, this team is going to be very fun to watch this year and Karlsson is going to be a huge part of that. In my opinion, albeit with a very limited trial period, he looks like he can fit into the top four.

- Pascal Leclaire. Great saves all night and he does it with swagger. I've said before in defending Emery that the key characteristic for a goalie in Ottawa is cockiness. Leclaire teeters between confidence and cockiness and I love what I'm seeing. Clouston has said that he's great off the ice, quirky and laid back. Pundits around the league are saying he's a question mark because of his injuries, but a healthy Pascal Leclaire is going to be so much fun to watch.

- Alex Kovalev. I love his poise with the puck. It is a bit weird because everyone is playing an up-tempo style and he kinda cruises around in a slower gear, but it isn't a lack of speed. He's reading the ice and making smart plays with regard to puck movement. Alfie had always been our most poised puck carrier, so it is nice that our top two lines will have a guy that can move the puck through the neutral zone without panic. I know that the relationship with AK27 is going to have its ups and downs, but I thought he was a treat to watch with the puck tonight.


- Jonathan Cheechoo. I know he was on the third line and didn't see the powerplay, but Pierre said, he hasn't earned it. I am really pulling for this guy to succeed, partially because it validates the trade for us and partially because he's counted on for scoring depth. Sadly, though, he seemed to be a step behind Foligno and Shannon (who are pretty fast). While we aren't privy to how he's done in practice, I wonder what it will take to get Cheechoo some time on the second PP unit. As I said, I'd love to see the guy light the lamp 20+ times, but tonight wasn't a step in that direction.

- Milan Michalek. Okay, I'm absolutely giving him a pass because he was all over the ice and showed tremendous speed. I just thought there were a few occasions where he could have finished off a goal from nice Spezza passes. This is as much on Spezza because we're counting on him to make his linemates better, but I'd love to see Michalek fly AND finish. Tonight, he just flew. It will take a while to get the timing and the chemistry, so I will agree that it is pretty unfair to rag on him too much tonight.

- Schubert and Kelly. I don't want to pile on these two guys, but they looked like they regressed from last year. Chris Kelly, at one point in the third period, had the puck behind Leclaire and just kinda froze before turning it over. What is that all about? He also was skating into a scoring chance late in the third but instead of bringing the puck toward the net, he peeled off toward the boards and we didn't get in any shots. Not the kind of 'smart' player that is keeping him on the roster. And Schubert - why is he still here? The unfortunate part is that his spot in the lineup tonight forced Zach Smith into the press box. So now Smith will still get sent down, but not because Schubie stole the spot. Bring back in Ruutu and let Donovan be the 13th forward.

The other thing that pissed me off was our own Ottawa fans booing the team at the end of the game. Why? Because they lost a preseason game in which they completely outplayed the Bruins? It just makes us look stupid. I'm not saying that you can't express disappointment in a lacklustre effort when you've paid good money, but don't boo them after a hard-knock loss. We're supposed to be the smartest fans in Canada, people.


Derrick said...

Ugh. Cheechoo worries me. I think
I'd rather a fat Penner.

Canucnik said...

Ya got the "Caboose" and a "perimeter speed merchant"...I don't think you got 20 goals there total!

pynch said...

Well fans, same as Duffy, this was the first game of the preseason I was able to watch. I was so excited to see our boys back on nationl TV. The red jerseys looked great and I was excited. But, in the end, I wish I saw more. As Duff reminded me post game, it's preseason, we're finding out legs, and let's not set out expectations too high or we'll spend our winter cold and disappointed. Let me breath, and agree.


Great post report Duff, but another negative you failed to recognize was the PP. I know, I know, it's still a trial period, but CC's gotta figure it out. I'm not sold on Shannon as on our 1st line, especially on the back end. Again, I'm sure we're tweaking, but our next game counts for 2 real live, actual points that could, let's face it, be the difference into the post season. We have a well balanced offence, I agree, but we need to figure out how to make it click and count, fast.

In the end, nice to see some 'close to regular season' hockey, even though the sound of Pete Maguire made me cringe at first. But I can't argue his passion. I'm loving Leclaire and Karlsson made me very excited. Scratch that, the whole team made me very excited following a more than subpar year.

And to Derrick's point - you make a case, and, as I said to Duff, Cheech was not a factor tonight. But BM summed was clear to JD that while he isn't showing what's expected yet, there's a lot expected and I'm sure more to come. I have a feeling none of us would be happier with Penner at this stage than we are with Cheechoo. Time my friend. Let's give him three weeks and regroup.

That's the longest comment I've ever written. Bring on the season...

pynch said...

Oh and did Regin play with Fisher tonight? He mustn't have, cause Fish didn't score. Ok, ok, I'm not that pessimistic and I like Regin so far. Just sayin...

Joshua Lind said...

I was also at the game, and even got some autographs after the game. Good times :)

Karlsson was amazing. I love how, in the offensive zone, he would rush an opposing puck carrier rather than anticipating him clearing it out of the zone. It worked more times than it didn't, and it kept us in the end we wanted to be. We lost the game, but we outshot arguably the best team in the East.

Leclaire was good. He was badly screened on the 2nd goal, and came up with some really nice old-school glove saves. Should he fall to injury, I have faith in Elliott, so I'm much happier about our goaltending situation now than...ever.

I wasn't as happy with Kovalev as you were Duff, but time will tell.

Michalek is awesome. Finally, a real power forward! :)

Schubert looked like he was trying to stay with the team, but I was really disappointed in Lee and Kelly.