well, a fun game to watch.. lots of shots, a few goals, some pretty plays, some good goaltending and a win..
a few quick observations;
...arnott simply took the game over honestly. the first goal on a laser from the low slot, after a great centering pass from behind by dumont. the blocked outlet pass and steal and great feed to fiddler on the shorty for the game winner. and then a great shot fake that froze graham and the defense and a wonderful feed to a wide open ellison for the 3rd goal. naming him captain might be the smartest motivational tool that could have possibly been used based on how he's played in his two pre-season games. he looks ready to have a huge year.
...right now it looks like it makes no difference who the leftwinger is on the dumont-arnott line. fiddler has had two goals on a tee and ellison with another tonight because of how well these two guys are clicking here in the preseason. cann't help but shake your head if sullivan was on that other wing with these guys all year.
...defensively we gave up too much, too easily. niskla and koistinen and and zidlicky better put up some numbers, because defensively all three of these guys leave something to be desired. tonight several bad turnovers from this group, and too much room given to wings entering the zone time after time. not a very good job getting to rebounds mase left either.
...the shot differential wasn't quite as bad as it sounded... even strength they outshot us only 21-20
...on the pp however it was a totally different story. they had our pk scrambling most of the nightt and were peppering mason with shots from all angles. we gave up 15 shots in only 11 minutes of pk time. mason saved our bacon here.
..our pp was 0 for 7 and in 14:29 of pp time we in turn only had 7 shots on net. didn't really look good here at all again.. i think we're "officially" now 2 for 30 in the preseason on the pp (even though this is wrong, we're really 3 for 30 by my count).. still long way to go here, hopefully after these roster cuts we can now get own to business.
...mason with an excellent game of course. anytime you save 39 of 40 you had a great game... tonight mason was sharp reading the play, a couple of acrobatic reading crossice plays and getting over to cover from post to post. stellar job here, these were athletic type saves you would expect from a vokoun.. mason has a rep as being a strong positional goalie, and not an athletic goalie.. this is what the scouting report on him has always been... it's wrong.. mason's great pk save percentage last year should have made people realize he was far more athletic than his scouting report says.. when mase is sharp, he's very sharp. tonight mason's first move to the puck was outstanding, all night long.
...i will say we were lucky tonight. we were lucky because mason had so many hard blasts coming in on him he left many rebounds, and our defensemen failed to get to many of them like they have to.. fortunately, many of the rebounds mase left came off so hard they jumped by everyone many times. the only one he gave up hit the heel of his glove and fell right on williams stick... defensively we have to do a better job getting to those, and mason has to cut down on rebounds as well.
...not really surprised by the cuts made after the game.. ellison and langfeld are the guys with the most experience up front, guys like trotz always gives the most respect to. wish we could keep pihlstrom, but not if he's not going to be a nighty scratch. let him go down and play, he's the best of this lot.
...i am a little surprised on the defensive side, figured we would keep henry a little longer (this injury killed any shot for the guy). surprised we kept niskala honestly. koistinen and niskala both smallish, offensively oriented type dmen.. i think the main reason we're still looking at niskala is this might be his last chance at 26 to make this team, and trotz is gving him every chance out of respect. nice shot tonight by niskala, the guy seems to have offensive skills.
...devries a +3 tonight by the way, i thought he was much better than thursday.
...bonk continues to impress. size with the willingness to use it. couple of good backchecking intercepts tonight preventing odd man rushes. could have had a couple of points but gelinas fanned on a couple of gimmes after good setups from him.. i think he's going to be a real asset to this team.
..not quite sure what we were doing with rads tonight. dressing him to line with two kids didn't make much sense.. my thought was we dressed him primarily to use him on the pp with arnott and dumont, thinking these three would get a lot of pp time together this year.
...suter with a good game honestly. one thing you can see is suter is getting better game by game offensively. his shot is really improved, and he's looking for it. played over 25 minutes tonight.
Just some quick hits to add, [better late than never]....
Mason stood tall throughout the game, especially in the 1st period.....JP with some nice kudos in the paper for Mase....."he could have been playing back there by himself the 1st period...... if you had any doubts before, you now know why we know he is our man, etc". Would like to see the dmen adapt to looking and clearing the rebounds better. Mase had excellent tracking and anticipation of the 1st puck, but what impressed me even more was his positioning for the 2nd shot. Glad to see him get his due, even from the likes of Byrdog..lol.
I am not surprised that Pihlstrom is sent down, to be honest. Trotz is sold on the philosophy that every player needs to ride the Milwaukee bus before than can appreciate the luxury of the Midwest charter and what it takes to get there. I know many of you will disagree with that, but I don't. I think the player stays much hungrier, longer,if they have the frame of reference of the Milwaukee bus trips to refer to.
I love Pilhstrom's game, as much, or more than the rest of you......but 303 is right.....he really is competing against Fiddler for the LW job on the Arnott/Dumont line until Sully gets back. And you can't ask Fiddler to do more than what he has shown in these preseason games to get the nod for that spot, at least initially. It is not even the 2 goals, it is the digging out the puck for that line, over and over again....then having the hockey sense to go to the net and be at the right place at the right time to reap the rewards of Arnott and Dumon't skill.
Pilhstrom, no doubt, has been the most pleasant surprise to Poile and Trotz this camp....but let's not forget...it is indeed a numbers game. When we have the inevitable injuries, we will be glad that we maintained depth in the organization to call upon.
Somebody on the GDT, pointed out how they enjoyed the amount of cycling that was going on last night. Couldn't agree more, and it really changed the momentum from the first where we were on the receiving end of the 18 shots on goal. Interesting to see who was doing most of the cycling....the lines involving Santorelli, Maki, Ellison, Pihlstrom, and Thuresson.
The question in my mind is.....will we continue to cycle the puck when these guys are down in Milwaukee?
I am amazed how much Suter's shot has improved over the last two year, and especially this summer. I reminds me of the time when Trotz told me on one of the trips that he had told Suter that "his shot was so weak that he could have stopped it in a bikini and with a pair of tweezers".....not a pretty visual, I might add.
Can't say enough about what great pick ups Gelinas and Bonk will be this year, both on and off the ice. And what about Arnott and Dumont leading by example in their new leadership roles? I think that this group will prove to be the best leadership core [include Mason, Gelinas, deVries, and probably Hamhuis and Weber in that group as well] that we have ever had here.
I am really bummed that Klein got hurt. I think he is SO much better the "all-around" defenseman that we need in the 7th position rather than Koistienen and/or Niskala. He can play offensive or defensive oriented, whichever the situation or injury replacement calls for. Koistenen and Niskala are too much in the Zidlicky mold for my taste....but giving them some more time to showcase their abilities until Klein is healthy, I am OK with.
What happened to this AMAZING talent we had down in Milwaukee named "Cal O'Reilly"? Did he show up this camp? Thurreson, Pihlstrom, Hornqvist, and to a degree Santorelli outshown him, big time. Granted, he is a center, and all the ones I mention except for Santorelli are wingers.....but for play, in general, I was expecting more from O'Reilly.
We need to have it definitively clarified, once and for all, whether Ellis can pass up and down without clearing waivers.....goalie criteria for waivers is different than player crilteria....anyone have it for sure?
Ellis is 27, but didn't sign a professional contract until 2003/4 season and he has only had 1 NHL game to this point.
Pete and Terry talked about the plan is to hope to have Mason playing 60-65 games while having Rinne and Ellis coming up to backup for 2-3 week stints then rotating down and getting #1 playing time in Milwaukee, while the other one backs up Mason.
That seems like a great plan, as long as they are both performing equally well.
I am liking how this team is put together. I think we are gonna be competitive as is, then get a huge boost in the arm when Sully comes back.
Hopefully he comes back on schedule and at least close to the Sully we all remember.....