PS #1 - 09.21.2011 | New Jersey Devils @ New York Rangers | 7:00 PM - MSG (HD)
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09-22-2011, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
I'd say this was a pretty good game overall. These Rangers sure look very different from the Renney era Rangers, both the kids and pros skated very well given the condition of the ice.
Some of the denfensmen played a pretty uneven game when it came to positioning. Del Zotto was all over the place, especially when he was paired with Eminger, but those two skated very well, did a poor job of getting the puck out the zone four times on the OT goal, although Eminger looked like he had two brain farts on the break out. DZ should've either dumped it after the first mishap or skated it out.
Del Zotto also got into the rush a little to aggressively with the wrong personnel on the ice as well, but otherwise he was pretty good.
Brenden Bell played a mistake free game, as did Girardi, but Bell has to become a little more acclimated with our system, you could tell he has been playing in a very conservative system the last couple of years.
McIlrath started off a little shaky, but as his confidence and comfort level grew, I really really liked what I saw. He fell a couple of times, but it looked like he lost his edge, he definitely wasn't muscled off. Made tough, firm and heady play after play after first in the defensive zone. Handled the puck much better than he did at TC, and got in deep into the offensive once or twice when he should've been retreating, but the man (he certainly doesn't play like a kid) from Manitoba is fearless. I loved how he started to play like he owned the front of the net by chasing guys around, hitting them and you could see guys backing off and giving him room. Played his angles very well when he was lined up against Kovalchuk and Parise. He looked like he enjoyed the challenge. Still needs to fill out, had some moments of sloppy footwork, while he was very good with chipping pucks, dumping it in, and making tape to tape passes. He could stand to work on making area passes, and deciding when to slap it, snap it, or wrist it.
Erixon wasn't noticeable, and I say that as a compliment, did not make mistakes, had a miscue or two with a teammate, but he didn't make much happen with the puck on his stick like I was expecting. Displayed a soft touch with the puck, but he also seemed a little uncomfortable, unlike his former teammate in Larsson who looked like the complete package. His frame looks small in comparison to the big boys too. If we were talking about a guy who is going to go out there and give you solid minutes, not make mistakes, and be a no. 5 or 6 guy, then Erixon shined more than Eminger, but we are all expecting more I think. He didn't get a chance to show much on the PP either, so I think he'll play better and better as camp goes along.
JT Miller impressed, his conditioning isn't that of a peak athlete yet, but he was smart, aggressive, and very impressive. Skated well, he does have a little bit of a choppy stride, but that can be fixed, shot needs work, but he is a very adept passer, created turnovers, made room for himself and his teammates, displayed a lot of poise with the puck. He is a nice mixture of skill and will, hopefully gets some more games in. Much closer to the NHL than I thought, he's got some things to work on, but given the will he's shown and the smarts, I think they remedy themselves quickly. He is going to be a good one.
Christian Thomas looked frustrated out there, but once he was ticked he started to hustle more, and that is what he is going to need to do at the pro level. Unlike in juniors where he was set up easily and often, Thomas is going to need to generate chances for himself by getting in on the forecheck and creating turnovers. That's the difference between a Jeff Skinner and a Pavel Brendl. The former sniper makes things happen, the latter just waits for the puck to find him in an opportune spot. One makes his luck happen, the other waits till he gets lucky. He has the hands and a nice skill set, but physically he has got to become a little stronger, and display a little more hunger.
Hagelin skated very well, but the comparison for Sjostrom is fitting for now, hell you could say he looked like Matt Gilroy as a forward, skated right up the boards threw the puck towards the net. I did like his hustle and how quickly he got on pucks, but he didn't make much happen afterwards. Needs to be a little more patient, hold on to the puck and wait for a play to open up. I'll chalk it up to nerves, but he also needs to learn to be a little shifty, change up gears, and add a little flair to his game.
Last edited by Mikos87: 09-22-2011 at
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