Thursday's game vs. Dallas
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10-02-2003, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
A few things from tonight's game I noticed. I missed a few minutes here and there; so, certain players may have been better when I wasn't watching. I did tape the game; so, I'll go back and watch it again anyway.
I'll answer Dario's question about McCormick first. Downey wanted to fight McCormick in the 3rd period and McCormick declined. As both guys were heading to the bench, Downey gave McCormick a shove as he was entering the open door. No intent to injure or anything, just a little nudge to let McCormick know that Downey was still there. McCormick stops, goes back out the door and skates towards the Stars bench where Downey was now sitting. They yap at each other and the refs give Downey a crappy penalty for that little nudge. That was the whole situation.
The Avs lines were:
Hahl-Hinote-McCormick (don't quote me on the positions on this line though)
Hinote was better than I've ever seen him. Used his speed very well to get in position offensively for once and put shots on net. His goal came from a horrific no-call and Turco badly misplaying the little backhander from a poor angle. Hinote was still great tonight and I won't take that away from him. Svatos (Stars play-by-play kept calling him Savatos though) looked pretty good too. Didn't play all that physical or agitating, but made a very nice pass to Nikolishin and also a good play to intercept the attempted clear behind the net right before the pass. Nikolishin dragged down Young on the no-call that led to Hinote's goal, but was quite good as well. The Avs PK and PP were dominating; the PK was very aggressive and the Stars had trouble all night gaining the zone and setting up. I thought the Stars were much better at even strength though.
Hejduk didn't really lay out Modano with a hit. Modano dumped the puck in and was a bit off balance when Hejduk gave him a slight crosscheck around the rib cage. That sends Modano sliding on his ass right into the boards. That's the problem with fast skaters; they get hurt more easily on nothing little plays like that when slower skaters like myself don't even fall over.
Skoula hasn't changed whatsoever. He was so horrible that I barely have the heart to talk about him anymore (but I will muster up the effort). As usual, he looked fine rushing the puck and holding the point; he even made a nice read in the neutral zone to intercept a pass. In his own end though, he is just so hopeless. I lost count of the number of times he would just stand near the net and watch the play. Didn't take a body nor did he help out his teammates with anybody driving the net. Just stood, like a fan, watching plays happen around him. He has zero hockey sense in his own zone. I don't remember exactly what my prediction was about Skoula in the predictions thread, but I hope it was exceptionally harsh. He continues to regress defensively; he should be the one they're trying to convert into a forward, not McAllister. As someone who enjoys good defense, Skoula makes me want to vomit nowadays, much like watching Shantz offensively. Trade him to the Rangers already.
Sauve was crappy handling the puck and was scrambling most of the night. He looked shaky, but he got the job done anyway. Both Stars goals came against the Liles-Morris pairing as well. The first Young goal was a tough call because Young set up above the circles for a one-timer (no man's land basically). Liles was too slow to catch up to him, but as high as Young was, I would think a forward would have been closer to Young and a forward probably should have closed Young down before Liles had to. Second Young goal was a nice pass by Boucher. Young split the defenders (went to Morris' side more though; no surprise there) and went and scored on a nice backhander. Morris got dusted by Miettinen along the boards as well; his one-on-one defense also seems about the same as last year. Liles also took a bad penalty on Morrow as well. After he got hit by Morrow in the corner, Liles took his hand off his stick and basically tackled Morrow. Didn't notice Liles all that much outside of that; nothing really negative or positive beyond the bad penalty and being paired with Morris.
McCormick had a couple of real aggressive shifts and drove the net when someone else had the puck too. But, I didn't find him to be all that effective either. He's definitely a better game player than a practice player though. Svatos was clearly the better of the two in my eyes tonight.
Skrastins was pretty shaky IMO too. He and Foote didn't have a lot of chemistry from what I saw and I didn't see any reason to believe Skrastins has some hidden offensive talent either.
Neither of the top Avs lines were that dominating either. Tanguay played a fabulously invisible game (again).
The Sakic line was good, but not great throughout and the Forsberg line was hard to notice most of the night outside of the occasional shift here and there. I don't recall seeing McAllister after his fight with Erskine either, but I'm sure he was around. Don't know what happened to Forsberg either to make him leave the game. I'll check the tape in a few minutes to see; it happened about halfway through the 3rd I believe.
I won't chew up the Stars that much, but rest assured they had plenty of crappy performances as well. Turco was freakin' horrible out there; if Sauve was shaky, Turco was suffering from a nervous breakdown. Just terrible. Zubov is still as smooth as you'd like though and Morrow is just fun as all hell to watch. Hard hitter (smoked Skrastins in this one) and loves to stand in front of the net and go into the corners. Ott did zero; very little agitation or hitting. Arnott had a couple of hits, but did very little. Modano and Lehtinen weren't all that impressive either. Erskine got burned a couple of times at least and the Stars are in for a rough season if Erskine makes the team and plays like that. Both teams were rather crappy in general and it certainly looked like a preseason game still.
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