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05-08-2006, 11:46 AM
Blind Gardien
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Originally Posted by Scribe
I had to work tonight so I couldn't watch the game. Can anybody tell me about the game? How did Staal look. I heard Dennis was hurt and 17-year-old Steve Mason played. How did he look?
I thought Staal looked pretty good. Maybe even really good. I guess it doesn't show on the scoreboard, but I keep thinking that he's showing more and more confidence all the time, holding onto the puck a little bit longer, trying to do just a little bit more with it. Good signs for next year, for sure.

Mason was certainly adequate, and, like Staal, it's probably a good sign for next year. He should be a viable #1 for the Knights after Dennis is gone. Couldn't fault him for anything that happened, he was taken out of the play on the OT goal. The only thing he lacks on Dennis IMO is the ability to have that random absolutely-unbelievable-stand-on-his-head kind of game once in a while. Technically and physically he probably looks like a more conventional goalie who will appeal more to the scouts down the road, though.

The real story in the game was unfortunately officiating, though. I'm not a Knights fan or a Petes fan, so I hope I'm less biased than some. I'd grudgingly acknowledge that perhaps it was called evenly enough. Except it was the sort of game where they were calling all kinds of little things or borderline things, which really gets the coaches and players ticked off. Not at all unusual in this OHL season, of course, still very typical.

The problem is, I think the Knights were playing closer to that borderline than the Petes were, so there was definitely going to be an impression created that the Knights were getting the shaft. Hunter was doing his usual sideshow, but on some of those hits that were called for charging or checking from behind... wow. And then of course whenever you get the refs calling it with a microscope like that, and a few phantom calls creep in, then it makes it all the more frustrating when they start to put the whistle away on some of the stuff that happens later in the game.

I just feel like you could have taken half the penalties out of that game, had a much more entertaining product, and saved some of the frustration and sideshow aspect of it. It just encourages more and more embellishing and faking and diving, to the point where you can't even really guess if Downie's spear or some of the other acts deserved attention or not. It's just impossible to say from watching the game. The OHL is really putting itself in a position to encourage more and more of this stuff, IMO.

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