- Hossa played strong game, hard to move off the puck in the corners, showed the grit that everyone wants him to play with
That's the positive we should keep from this game. Hossa has been impressive the last 2 games, just after Julien expressed his insatisfaction publicly, playing with grit and going in the corners hard. He now just seems to have steped it up a notch.
Look out for that Hossa - Ribeiro - Zednik line if Hossa plays all year like he did in the last 2 games and if Ribeiro plays just as well as he did in pre-season so far. If only we could have a big scorer (instead of Audette) to play on Koivu's wing along with Bulis, I think we could actually have had two decent attack lines and some strong checking lines also with the addition of Ward, Ryder and Sundstrom.
But the idea of again having to cope with soft small declining one-dimensional Audette for an other year on the top-2 lines cools me off a lot.
My impressions of the game: (for what they are worth). Note: I was in the nose bleed seats and was incensed at having to pay $12 for a beer (if Molson Ex can actually be considered beer).
Bouillon – I read a comment that Komisarek was trying to do too much, if that’s true then the opposite can be said of his defence partner Bubble. Did not clear the front of the net or contain attacking forwards. His trademark tenacity was also absent last night.
Brisebois – Was jeered by nearby Leaf fans which made me feel like I was in Montréal. Played a solid almost mistake free game, looks more patient with the puck and did not gamble. Aero dynamic buzz cut is paying off!
Dykhuis – Not the best partner for Hainsey, constantly chipped the puck out and down the ice instead of looking for the open forward. Hockey’s equivalent to a punter, wants to get rid of the puck immediately.
Hainsey - Seemed invisible for the most part, two plays come to mind. One, he broke up a two on one by diving, a nice defensive play. Two, rang a shot off the post on the powerplay. A smooth skater who was frequently standing still and in doing so was often ineffective or out of position. A decent pass, but little to no puck poise, seemed rushed and nervous. Did seem to settle down as the game went on
Komisarek - Not his best outing defensively, I believe he was -1 for the night. Failed to clear the zone or tie up Nieuwendyk on the Leafs first goal. Looked a lot more comfortable playing physically, although he was not taking any chances for a big hit. When he wanted to, he was able to rub out/contain the likes of Nolan and Nieuwendyk with ease. I'm expecting good things from him this year.
Traverse – A typical Traverse game.
Audette – Didn’t notice him hurt or help the team. Frankly I was not inclined to watch him. I’m certain he’ll get a shot on one of the top two lines.
Carpentier – Brought some energy and dumb penalties to the table last night. Lost a scrap vs Nathan Perrot. Why dress this guy along side Higgins?
Dagenais – AHL bound! Good size – but not physical. Skating is definitely sub-par. Perfect example of “size” not being the panacea for what ails the Habs.
Ferland – Wasn’t impressed no shots and coasted on the periphery of the play.
Higgins – Didn’t see much ice (he can thank line mate Carpentier’s two penalties for that). Bigger than I expected and showed some hussle and a willingness to go into the corners/play in traffic. Needs time to adjust to the speed of the game. I’d like to see what he can do with playing with Bulis and/or Sundstrom.
Hossa – Despite being handicapped with lack luster line mates, I thought he played a solid game. Strong on the forecheck, went to the net with authority, back checked and was fairly responsible in his own end.
Juneau – He’s done – someone stick a fork in him. Barring injury is there a spot for him?
Perezhogin – Would have liked to see him get a few more passes, seems to have good vision and speed. From what I saw last night he should only improve after some time in Hamilton.
Perreault – Typical Yanic – looked dangerous at times in slot, but largely disinterested everywhere else.
Plekanec – Seemed smallish but very shifty and relatively strong on the puck, a decent puckhandler with good speed. Left me with the impression that he was trying to impress CJ and BG. Only knock on last nights performance was that he didn’t seem to look for his wingers.
Ryder – Was a little disappointed in his game. Didn’t seem to have any jump, although he wouldn’t be the only player who took the night off.
Ward – See my comments on Ryder. His speed (or lack thereof) still worries me at times he was behind the play.