Archive for September, 2008

Thoughts on the first televised exhibition game

… How typical of Robert Lang was it that he took an offensive-zone penalty for the Habs right off the bat? 

The same goes for his somehow-not-called slashes on a Ville Leino rush in OT. Typical Langsian “hockey.” Good luck with that, Montreal.

… I was impressed with Leino’s offensive skills. He wasn’t so noticeable the other way, but looks like he’s strong in the opposition’s end. He demonstrated some real nice hands on his goal and showed a solid snap shot in the shootout. 

It’s clear he not quite ready for the NHL, though. Case in point: he took a hit from behind in the first (I believe) that he absolutely could/should have avoided. He’s still adjusting to both the North American game and the North American rink, and the best place for him to do that is in Grand Rapids, not Detroit. He’ll be one to watch with the Griffins this season as long as he stands by his word and actually goes to the AHL.

… Darren Helm really looked good. He’s picked up right where he left off in the Finals. He’s making a strong case for himself, but he may be better off in GR with actual playing time. 

… The way Marian Hossa’s jersey is tucked in his hockey pants had me momentarily seeing #91 just about every time I noticed him. He didn’t stick out in a big way, but it’s still the pre-season and he’s still adjusting to his teammates, so he obviously gets a break. It still would have been nice to see him score in the shootout, though.

The Montreal crowd is something else, to put it politely. Booing Marian Hossa for choosing Detroit over the Habs? Give me a break. 

… I didn’t think Kyle Quincey looked too good. Full disclosure, I’m biased against the guy, having picked him as the odd man out a long time ago. For what it’s worth, he’s conspiciously absent from the Wings’ roster as listed on the official site. 

… Jimmy Howard was strong in regular play, but was victimized in the shootout. 

… Aaron Downey is wearing #44, apparently in an effort at getting some better “energy” over #20. I do not approve. The last two Red Wings to wear #44? Two OtW Unfavorites, Mark Hartigan and Todd Bertuzzi. It does not bode well for you, Aaron, that 44 is your number of choice. 

… Chris Chelios blocked a shot in the third and had to leave the game due to what the AP is calling an ankle injury. He wasn’t putting any weight on his right leg as he was helped across the ice to the dressing room tunnel. Here’s hoping he’s okay. If Quincey isn’t already on the way out, a Chelios injury may at least partially answer the question of space on the blueline. 

… Nik Kronwall looks poised to have a great season as long as his new-found healthiness holds up. 

… No game-breaking gaffes on the part of Andreas Lilja. That’s in spite of Montreal’s speed and the fact that big #3 is not in mid-season shape. That’s encouraging, especially given that the Wings don’t seem to eager to drop the guy.

… The Habs gave the Wings plenty of power play opportunities, but they couldn’t capitalize. Granted, the units were somewhat hodgepodge with the roster split as it is, but I’m hoping for some more power play success this season and the sooner it starts, the better. 

… All in all, not a bad game from an entertainment standpoint. In some ways, it was obviously still exhibition hockey, but in others it was a well-played game between two highly-skilled opponents. It will be interesting to contrast this game with Friday’s televised matchup with our old friend Ron Wilson’s Maple Leafs.

… On a different note, I’m trying to figure out what OtW is going to look like this season. Previously, it pretty much just had school to compete with, but now I’ve got a full-time job, and in a week and a half, another layer of competition gets added when I get married. So we’ll see how it goes from here on out.