Friday, September 23, 2005

NHL's FANtastic!

I didn't get to watch too much of the Wings/Avs preseason game thanks to the Lost double-dip on ABC, but I watched a good portion of the Wings/BJs game last night. I know you can't take too much from a preseason game, but a few thoughts from the last couple of nights:


-I wouldn't wish a groin injury upon any man, but the longer I can go without seeing Chris Osgood in the Wings' net, the better.

-Niklas That kid's a player. I don't care if he was playing against mini-mites out there, it's obviously. You may not be able to tell a ton from preseason games, but you can tell this kid is a stud. And playing in Sweden's Torpedo system for a few years isn't going to hurt him with the new rules in the NHL. He's already taking full advantage of the lack of 2 line passes. At one point, he shot a pass from his own goal line down the ice to Draper at the opposing blueline for a breakaway. And since it was Draper on the breakaway, you know how that one turned out.

-Jimmy Howard is going to be good too. He let in a softie, but the talent is there for that kid to be a big game goalie. The game tonight isn't on, but we're up 2-0 on Dallas after 2 and I guess he's kept the Wings in the game (which is very believable with the roster they're using tonight...Holmstrom and Schneider are the only regulars in the lineup).

-The Wings have such a nice balance back on defense. Schneider, Lidstrom, Kronwall, Delmore and yes Fischer can all move the puck really well. Then they've got Lilja (who I haven't seen yet...he's hurt), Chelios, Rivers who are all solid in their own end (not to say that Lidstrom and Schneider aren't!). Delmore can really move the puck, but that kid can't play a lick of defense. Think Danny Richmond here. He had 3-4 real bad giveaways. They don't call him Any Elmore for D at all. And there is the reason that he was struggling to catch on despite pretty darn good offensive numbers.

-Lang is just a pure sniper. Everyone seems to forget that he's on the team, and he's really probably their best forward. It's going to be really nice having him in the lineup for a full season. Lang/Datsyuk/Zetterberg/Lidstrom/Schneider power play? Yes please.

-Hudler looked great. Our badass coach thought he played well, but that it was an effort that was overdue.
“I said, ‘Are you the guy I saw at the start of camp, or are you the guy who’s competitive right now?’” Babcock said. “If you are prepared to compete and you have that skill level you are going to be good.

“I watched him a few times in the minors last year and he wasn’t good at all. He has to decide.”

“Hudler had some jump today, but why doesn’t he play hard all the time? If you can be good one time, you can be good all the time, so what’s going on there mentally?”
-Tomas Kopecky looked pretty good last night too. This was a guy who was right up at the top of our prospect rankings, and has gone into a tailspin since then. He played pretty well last night though. He's going to need a lot more of those efforts if he's going to make the league, but at least it was something.

-Franzen has 2 tonight. I wish I could see this kid. It's 2-2 now. Howard's given up 2 in the third. But keep in mind we're playing NO ONE tonight. I'd be pissed if I paid to go to that game and see the Grand Rapids Griffins play.

-I love the new rules. Absolutely love them. There's no reason that 2 line passes and tag up offsides shouldn't have been in the game all along. We're going to have some sub 2 1/2 hour games this year. They're just flying along.

-In other preseason action, tonight Eric Nystrom got his first NHL "goal". Congrats Ny! I hope he makes the Flames. I guess Danny Richmond scored for Carolina last night too. If he makes their team, am I required to put him on my Michigan team in NHL2k6 when the roster update comes out?

-Tambellini practiced with Michigan yesterday after getting sent down by the Kings. No word on if Red was grunting in his office, and putting a scope on him the whole time.

-Next Sunday is the Michigan exhibition opener against Toronto. If they use that screwed up rule about having the center line determine when the zone is cleared, after the blueline is gained, Michigan is going to score 15 goals and our power play is going to be like 80%. I can't wait. It's always fun to bust on the Canadian teams and then piss em off by not playing their anthem.

-The IndyCars are at Watkins Glen, love those road courses! They had rain today, and I kind of hope it rains on Sunday there. I love watching races in the rain and it's been forever since I've seen one. I just bought a piece of Bryan Herta's 2000 racecar on ebay. Whooo!


Tom said...

In the BJ game, did Hudler circling with the puck on the PP remind you of TJ Hensick? It sure did me.

As a Red Wings fan, I really love the rule changes because it seems like the Wings system is loaded with fast foreigners who are going to go nuts with the extra ice-space (ie Hudler, Kopecky, Datsyuk, Zetterburg, Kronwall, etc). Whereas just a couple of years ago I really thought that the Wings were in big trouble, now I'm kind of excited about these kids. Hopefully Babcock can teach them to work hard and play some defense. Sorry to babble, but after seeing the Avs game the other night, I have to say that I have never witnessed a faster game of hockey and I am very, very excited about this season.

Packer487 said...

No, you're completely right. I think Datsyuk and Zetterberg are going to thrive with the open ice, and I really do think that Krownall is going to be lethal back there making the homerun pass.

I can't even believe how good that kid has looked the first couple of games. He's got wheels, a great passer, he's smart about when he pinches, he can hit....they might have struck the jackpot on him.

But yeah, Hudler does look like TJ out there at times. He's missed a couple of open nets the last couple games...needs to bury those. He's got some talent though (and some hair!!).

I already love Babcock. It'll be nice to have a real coach instead of just a gum chewer behind the bench. This team honestly, probably has to be the favorite to come out of the West. Them and Calgary.