Hockey’s Back: Yeah, it was a loss. But it was hockey. So there’s that. And it’s a big, pretty cool that.
Jimmy: Not his best game ever. Not sure if that minor injury from camp has him off a bit, but he did not look sharp overall. In a couple spots, sure, but he’s got plenty of room for improvement, just like he left on the short side last night.
Smith: Very cocky and doing enough to make him look stupid for being so. Obviously a lot of talent, but just as obvious is his need to grow a bit. Big minutes in Grand Rapids should do the trick.
Brunnstrom: Points for effort. He’s acting as a solo agent within the system, but he’s showing enough that he may get tossed a contract and a seat on the Griffins’ bus. I like his skill, but he needs to stop trying to impress on his own and seek to more of a team player, which is what the Wings will be impressed with anyway.
Russian Show: Malkin and Datsyuk both came to play, with the former being the Pens’ TV crew’s favorite topic and the latter doing enough to crack through the reverie from time to time. I did note, though, that a few of Malkin’s most highly-praised plays came against AHLers, so there was an element of hype there. His drive to the net on his goal, for example, wasn’t exactly like bull rushing Nick Lidstrom.
Datsyuk’s impression was likely amped up by the Pens roster too, so to be fair it’s a little early to draw big conclusions about either guy’s upcoming season. Except that Pavel’s gearing up. His play on the Kronwall goal was pretty swell.
Control: The Wings had their periods of control in this one, but the Kunitz goal derailed one, and then it was up and down, with the down stretches feeling a bit longer as the game went on. Unsurprising with the mix of regulars and kids in the lineup, but still worth noting.
The Power Play: New coaching didn’t turn out to be an instant cure, but that also is unsurprising. I’m sure things’ll be better when the full lineup is together.
Commodore: Kind of a loper and lacking the intensity I was expecting. Not sure if that’s coaching or him working to be a good, careful citizen, or what. We’ll see.
Cleary: I’m perfectly okay with that penalty. Sure Samuelsson shouldn’t turn, but there’s also no need to deliver that specific contact.
More Thoughts. Via Hollis at TPL.