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10-26-2003, 01:23 PM
  #2
c-carp
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 210
After missing opening night due to a wedding I saw my first 2 IceCat home games this weekend. Friday saw the Cats totally outplayed for most of the game by the Springfield Falcons (Phoenix Coyotes) in a 5-3 win, and were again mostly totally outplayed in a 3-2 loss to the Portland Pirates (Washington Capitals). Despite being outplayed there were a lot of positives.

We'll start with the goaltending. Reinhard Divis played both games and is the reason both games were as close as they were. In both games Divis came up huge while the Cats were playing shorthanded, making 4 or 5 saves that would have easily been ESPN "Top 10" material. The only negative was a breakaway vs Peter Ferraro (SPR) that I would have liked to see more agressiveness from Divis, but with the move Ferraro put on I doubt it would have mattered that much.

With the forwards, Granato does a lot of line shifting so as they game goes on you get a ton of different combos. The lines I saw the most out there Friday was:

Evans/Pohl/Hartlieb
Brown/Panzer/Black
Varlamov/Martins/Glumac
McLaren/Martins or Evans/Hemingway

Saturday's lines were:

Evans/Pohl/Hartlieb
Brown/Panzer/Glumac
Varlamov/Martins/Black

Corrinet and McLaren played mixed into the above 3 lines, with Corrinet playing both LW and RW.

The big issue was a lack of quality shots. It seems like most players are thinking to pass instead of shooting. That often resulted in shots from bad angles or into traffic. Many good scoring chances were lost by forwards making the extra pass.

Forwards that stood out:
Marc Brown, who seems to have returned to his '01-02 form by taking advantage of opening in the offensive zone and heading to the net when the opportunity arises, which are things that he didn't do last season. He is still one of the best penalty-killers on the team. Sergei Varlamov apparently used the last couple weeks to learn how to play defense as he threw more hits in the last 6 periods then he normally throws in 6 months. Like last season he's a threat to score from just about anywhere in the offensive zone. Mike Glumac played 2 very solid games and looks like a great pick-up for the Blues. Unfortunately, Colin Hemingway may be in over his head. His terrible play on Friday and a health Corrinet lead to his not playing Saturday. He had such a terrible game that he was beat up ice twice by Steve McLaren in the same shift.

Injuries both in St. Louis and Worcester have resulted in a very young defensive corps for the IceCats. The lines used both nights primarily were:

Virtue/Vandemeer
Byrne/Coleman
Pollock/MacKenzie

Granato did shuffle these lines as well, but all 6 defenseman played just about an equal number of shifts.

For as young as the defense is they played pretty well. A few mistakes were made, but often times it was a case of being too agressive. As they learn the speed of the game and get used to the styl of the guy they are teamed with I expect the defensive corps to be the backbone of the team.

D-men that stood out:
Trevor Byrne showed why he's listed as one of the top-3 defensive prospects, and has excellent movement without the puck. He's not afrraid to jump into the play and has enough speed to get back inot position on defense. Aaron MacKenzie plays very well on both ends of the ice and has a wrist shot that is one of the best I've seen in a while. John Coleman must have blocked over a dozen shots this weekend.
great work 210, thanks for the recaps and summaries.

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