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11-02-2007, 11:19 PM
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Location: Chattanooga, TN
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Couple things come to mind right away:

Ellis again with a very good game. His poise has been superb, but the thing that he brings to this team is the ability to minimize the dump and chase game of an opponent. The fact that he can play the puck so well lets the defensemen set up wider from behind the net, giving them time and space to make the open breakout pass instead of always being harrassed and giving up the turnover. Ellis is truly like an extra defenseman out there.....granted not as good as Turco, but he adds a dimension that blends so well with our good puck moving defensemen that we are truly a different team defensively with him in net instead of Mason. He and Mason are similair in the fact that they are both bulldogs in there as well.

There is no coincidence tonight that Mason failed to don the headset for the backup's standard chat with Pete and Terri in the 3rd period. His last couple out there were very forced, and no doubt he is mad as h3ll that he didn't get the start tonight in front of all his family, near his hometown, on the back of a back-to-back. He probably said he didn't want to go on the air tonight, as he knows it would show that he is frustrated right now, and that isn't the best to be displayed in public for the team. Gone are the days of the Vokoun/Mason collegiality. You can tell that at the end of the game congratulations....that Mason gives Ellis the obligatory congrats...but no skating off chatting afterwards, etc.
It is time for Mason to get mad instead of frustrated and earn the position back. In my mind [and I would bet most of the locker room as well] Ellis has become the defacto #1, even if the label is not given to him, for the short term. There is no denying he has earned it, plain and simple. They should ride him until he shows he can't handle it...then Mason can have his chance again.

I like this teams ability to play with a lead versus last years team. Last year, I never felt comfortable with a lead. With this team lately, once we get the lead, we know how to pay shut down defense, while maintaining the forecheck and dumping the puck in deep. Last year we just kept backing up with the lead. That is where our checkers [Bonk, Ortmeyer, Fiddler, Smithson, Fiddler, Nichol, and yes Tootoo] can be defensiviely responsible but yet keep the pressure on. Obviously, scoring the goals initially is the key to that...but if we keep to our game plan, even if we get down a goal or two, we are much likely to get the even strength offensive zone pressure goal like Arnotts goal tonight....or the turnover goal, like Bonks goal.

I think the guys are finally seeing the recipe for success. We were even in the special teams game, but beat them even strength tonight, despite getting out shot badly in the second as we ran out of gas. We won by continuing to play defensively sound and taking advantage of our opportunities by our skilled players.

Bonk is the huge pick up of the year. I love his game. He plays a "heavy game" as Trotz has said, but he can finish and get the dirty goals as well. He is the 3rd line center we have been dreaming about for years, and never had. He should have had another goal as well, but was robbed by Tarnstrom, while just going a mere 71% in the faceoff dot....

Granted these past two wins are against two struggling teams in Vancouver and Edmonton...but they are away, and they are back to back. We will truly be tested against Chicago and Detroit....a much improved team in the Hawks, and probably the best team right now in the league right now in the Wings. If we play two solid games and don't get blown out, I will be happy..... if we come out of those two games with a point or two....I will be ecstatic. I predicted before the just can't hold the guy off the score sheet in Edmonton....

Good job boys....have a well deserved beer or two or ten tonight before you head out to Chicago in the morning....

Last edited by handtrick: 11-03-2007 at 04:09 PM.
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