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12-01-2012, 12:25 AM
  #808
Skating Tripods
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Country: United States
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Few thoughts on the game...

They looked flatter than a four-day old 20 oz Coke that had been left open. Just horrible. I told my fiance around three minutes in that they'd be down 1-0 very soon. I had no idea it would be 4-0 after one. Awful. Also, friend of mine (my ticket hook-up) who works for the team told me that Joe Sacco was in the house. Unrelated, he said Ryan Malone was in town for one of the games last weekend. Guess he was with his dad, Greg, who is a scout for the Lightning.

While I like Karl Stollery quite a bit, when he's your best player on the night, that's a major issue. Thought he played a strong game. Showed a little bit more physicality and jump than usual. I think he could be a 6th/7th defenseman in the future and be a guy you can reliably put on the ice and not really worry about.

Speaking of jump, Mark Olver had some for the first time in a game I've been at. I believe that was my fifth or sixth. He had some drive and looked like the Olver of old at times. Had a couple of decent scoring chances, but San Antonio's defensive zone coverage was strong. Olver didn't get much help when he was on the ice.

Both Elliott and Barrie got pushed around tonight. Not a banner night for either of them.

Regarding Aittokallio, I didn't think he played all that poorly in the first period. He was screened on two goals, one went off his defenseman and through the five hole, and another was a series of rebounds that he should have covered at some point. If you want to criticize him for the rebounds, that's fine, but the first, possibly second, save are his responsibility. After that, the opposing forwards need to be put on their *****. The gameplan against the Monsters is clearly to shoot low and crash the net.

For all the attack zone time the Monsters had in the final two periods, they didn't get a whole lot of high-percentage shots. Besides the couple of posts early on, Markstrom wasn't tested a whole lot. Credit San Antonio for buying into playing hard in the defensive zone.

Sullivan-Gaunce is not a good pairing, Chynoweth. Please separate them immediately. Gaunce looked lost out there tonight. Ill-advised pinches, slow foot speed in the corners. I wonder if he plateaued a couple seasons ago and just isn't getting any better. His lack of agility is what concerns me the most. He's getting victimized on the cycle and his pinches are causing odd-man rushes because he's not bodying up the forward fast enough. Major liability. Having another liability in Sullivan out there with him is not ideal.

I cannot figure out why Chynoweth is putting Bordeleau on the ice with Agozzino. In terms of guys who can create instant offense, Agozzino's one of the better ones on the team. Having Bordeleau with him not only slows the line down in transition, but doesn't give Agozzino a reliable weak-side winger to make a pass to. It was interesting to watch the Rampage give Bordeleau 10-15 feet of cushion to accept breakout and cross-ice passes, while pinching on Agozzino and the other linemate, who I can't think of right now. They clearly did their homework and had a great gameplan entering the game.

A growing trend I've seen this year is that the Monsters are a terrible faceoff team, especially in the defensive zone. Not only are they losing draws, but they're not doing the fundamental things in coverage. It's either a simple breakout for the opposition or a scoring chance against. Faceoffs are extremely critical when you're not a physical team. The Monsters have to be a puck possession team to have success, because they have a hard time getting it back.

I was a little annoyed that Chynoweth didn't call a timeout after the Monsters fell behind 2-0. They needed a kick in the ass and intermission was a long way away. I know you want to have it in your back pocket if it's a close game late in the third, but it was apparent that they wouldn't even be in the game if they kept playing the way they were.

Hopefully they play better tomorrow with a real quick turnaround.

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