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09-23-2003, 05:21 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Saskatoon, Sask.
Game On! Man am I glad to be watching hockey again.
Just finished watching the game and thought I'd share my thoughts.
Overall, I thought we had a really good game and controlled the flow. We downright dominated the 3rd. Julien's influence on strategy was very evident tonight, and it's obvious to me that he didn't implement his style of play last year at all but instead waited for this year to start fresh.
First off, in the offensive zone. He seems to have given the players a lot more freedom to make finesse plays in the offensive zone. Last year all we did was cycle, cycle, cycle. Last year it seemed we'd have a 3 on 2 but would dump it into the corner to get the cycle down low going. Tonight I saw guys going to the net a lot more and guys trying to walk out of the corner a lot more. Guys like Ribs, Zed and Perezhogin were dancing around and making some good, creative plays. We pressured the puck very well and had good support. I think a very good system that will utilize our speed and finesse.
Defensively we were very passive in our own end. We played a zone instead of the man on man we played last year. IMO it's not the ideal system, but considering the troubles we had last year it should simplify things a bit for our less-than-steller d men. Should also help to eliminate the running-around-with-our-heads-cut-off syndrome.
Now some player comments:
Ribiero - Fantastic game. Our best player tonight,probably the best in the game. Really showed he belongs. He looks very confident, especially behind the net. He doesn't look weak or small at all and his skating seems to have improved somewhat, he still doesn't have top end speed but was very solid on his skates.
Theo - I thought was very sharp. Rivet hung him out to dry the 1st goal and the 2nd was tipped right in front of him. He came up with some big stops in the third and kept us in the game, something he didn't do last year.
Bulis - Was solid tonight. He looks like he has taken his game to the next level. He is going to be a workhorse for us this year.
Hossa - He had a good game and had lots of scoring chances but I can see what CJ is talking about. He just doesn't look intense out there. He floated in and out of the corner a lot. But if he can start to put it together he has a shot at staying up.
Ward - Was solid as well. Looks to be assuming a penalty killing, third liner role. I'd like to see him have a permanent spot on the team this year, starting on the 3rd line and then maybe moving up as the season progresses.
Perezhogin - Showed flashes tonight but needs some seasoning in Hamilton. Played as an individual too much and tried to dance a little too often. I would be very surpised if he makes the team.
Plekanec - Was OK. Showed some alright stuff but, like Perezhogin, is destined for Hamilton.
Audette - Wasn't too bad but I'm not sold on him yet. If he doesn't start puttnig the puck in the net with some consistency, time to give him the heave ho.
Perrault - Was OK but I'm hoping he'll be gone this season. Ribs has taken over his spot IMO.
Higgs - Didn't get much icetime and I didn't notice him when he was on the ice. Have to reserrve judgement. I'm hoping they were resting him dut to the shortage of centres.
Traverse - On the PP? Brutal. Nuff said.
Breezy, Rivet, Quintal were they're usual OK but mistake prone selves. Bouillon looked good though. Dagenais, I don't know if he is going to make it and what be anything more than a 4th liner if he does.
Holy long winded! Well that's my observations after 1 game, and I'm sure lots of my opinions will change as we get into things a bit more. I'm curious as to what other people thought of Ribs, Perezhogin and Ward. Any other with player evaluations?
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