On Defense, Diaz was the best prospect imo. Very good coverage and decision making, liked his poise at the point on the PP.
I thought Emelin played well too. If I base my judgment on tonight only, then there's no doubt he will be a NHLer if he wants it. He did seem lost a few times, following the wrong opponent or going really high up leaving the front of the net uncovered, but otherwise, great skating skills, good decisions with the puck.
The guys that disappointed me a bit on defense, Tinordi, I thought he played like a stressed Dman that simply wants to clear asap. I'm not worried though, it's very common among youngsters.
Gill, not that he disappointed me, but he reminded me how all he does is flap around the ice and clear the puck against the boards. I hope he is used as our 6th Dman, especially if guys like Weber, Diaz and Emelin, who are all very mobile, keep improving. With PK, Markov and Gorges, we will have a very fast, mobile and good puck moving D squad. Huge difference from last year. Even Spacek can contribute to the puck moving.
Up front, AK and Cole played well. Plek and Cammy seemed like their good old self on pre-season mode, which is very fine.
Trotter, skated very well, took good and bad decisions. On some plays, it seemed like he was trying to impress management too much. Forced things that didn't really need to be forced. All in all however, I'm interested in seeing him perform as camp goes on and he settles down a bit.
Price, I don't really care. Good for him to get a crappy game in. Nothing to worry about obviously.
So, at the end of the day, what I really am excited about is the potential defense. Up front, our vets played well, should be interesting at the start of the season with a full line up.
Well what we saw tonight was exactly what we read from different reports last season in the OHL.. Decision making and hockey sense are without a doubt a big concern, looked quite lost tonight.
Interesting. Tinordi might not have the best hockey sense, but I think his below-average showing today had more to do with poor speed, lack of physical maturity and overall nervousness than it has to do about poor hockey sense, but that's just me I guess. On a couple of occasions, I also saw him stick real close to Dallas' forwards and shut them down quite adequately which was nice to see from one of our prospects. On a more positive note, the guy still has a lot of time on his hands to grow and mature as a player so its not like he won't imporve his skating, fill out nicely and refine his hockey sense some (at least I hope).
Cole: Scored a nice goal, hit, skated well, did as advertised.
Plekanec: Not his best game offensive, went through the motions, but we know Plekky will bring it.
Cammy: Quiet and ineffective, he only brings it if he has to, my problem with him..
Palushaj: No fire, no creativity, no offence, no confidence, not what he should be doing.. He'll stick around for more looks but is destined for the AHL this season.
Willsie: Invisible, didn't have the wheels to get a sure-fire break-away.. Enjoy your stay in the AHL.
Kostitsyn: Our best forward, was a big part of two goals, his release and shot is hard and accurate as ever, he controlled the puck, played well with horrific line-mates.
Schultz: Did well in his fight, ineffective and invisible for the rest of it. ECHL.
Trotter: Lost in the defensive zone, creative in the offensive zone, but didn't make anything happen. AHL.
Masse: Absolutely atrocious. There is NOTHING here. IHL.
Blunden: A lot of you liked him. I thought he couldn't play his way out of a paper bag. He can skate and hit. Goes to the net. But no offensive IQ, no real defensive acumen, his play with the puck leaves a lot to be desired. AHL.
Engvist: I liked his play on the Woywitka goal. He does lack fire but he doesn't lack smarts. He has skills and his play in the AHL shows me he is responsible enough for the fourth line. NHL-AHL.
Berger: Had the unfortunate task of playing with Masse. Still didn't do anything to make himself noticable. AHL.
Hal Gill: This is just practice for him. I don't really care how bad his performance was. NHL.
Yannick Weber: He really impressed me today. He was stronger, more combative and cerebral. Brought his patented offensive game with him. NHL.
Alexei Yemelin: Has some adjusting to do, you can tell he can't communicate very well with his teammates yet. He's physical, mobile, offensively aware. A real gem. NHL.
Jeff Woywitka: He was solid, showed he was a veteran of the league and read the play well. NHL-AHL.
Rafael Diaz: Not as impressed as most of you seem to be. There's raw talent but he was caught out of position on one goal. He was afraid of contact and was not capable of handling speed and physicality. Offensive awareness is there but he needs seasoning. AHL.
Jarred Tinordi: Hated the pick. Hated trading up for this selection. Trying to be nice to him but there's really not much to see here right now and I'm not sure there ever will be. OHL.
Carey Price: There was rust. Just some tightness issues in the mechanics of his movements. Nothing that can't be worked out. NHL.
Nathan Lawson: He played better than I thought. Had good rebound control and played well in the traffic. AHL.
the only real mistakes i could fault diaz on, it seemed like he was closer to the boards than he thought he was when pressured. i noticed it seriously in the mid-2nd, when he tried to make a turn with the puck and the forecheck was on him nearly instantaneously. i think that's just a problem of having a few less meters from the ice he's used to, and he'll make adjustments as he plays more.
Which is EXACTLY why I put Diaz on top of Emelin tonight. You didn't see how many times Emelin was taking the wrong guy tonight compared to Diaz? Was way more a chicken with no head than Diaz was. Again, it's just one game. Reason why I don't have Diaz on my starting lineup and Emelin in the AHL (though we know, Emelin didn't come here to play with the Dogs....). Yet, Diaz showed me more on the PP, patience, good shot. While he doesn't like to be hit, he was still ahead positionaly than Emelin tonight. Again...don't get me wrong....I'm not writing off Alexei...obviously.
We seem to see things about the same way.. I think Yemelin has room for improvement regarding positionning, that was a concern to me watching him at the WC but I must say ive been reassured tonight, thats not as bad as I thought it could be.. I thought he was realiable and got better as the game progressed, his reading got better and there is no reason to think it wont improve even more as he gets used to the system and enjoy the advice from our vets.. He has everthing else, this kid has skills, confidence and poise..
I also think Trotter looked like an AHLer, was involved in the play but it was just not working, was lacking a bit of everything..
Same view on Palushaj, slow start to say the least..
Tinordi has a long long way to go.. Hockey sense, positionning and mobility is obviously a big concern..
After tonight's game it's clear that the best newcomer is...Marc Denis. What an upgrade, holy smokes.
As for the game, I missed most of the 2nd period, but from what I saw...
Yemelin: Really impressive. Some adjusting to do but the skills and ability are there. It was glorious to see him in a Habs jersey - never thought the day would come.
Diaz: Pretty easy to see why our organization seems so high on him. Not far from NHL-ready, even if it's only spot duty for now.
Woywitka: Surprisingly impressive?! After all the horror stories from Stars fans I thought he looked pretty good. Clearly headed for the AHL but it might not be the end of the world if he has to fill in for an injury.
Tinordi: Not very impressive. A couple of unforced turnovers, bumbled the puck a lot, didn't see him use his body much.
Palushaj: Someone needs to explain the obsession because I don't get it. Weak as hell on his skates. Needs to work on his strength and balance in a big way.
Trotter: Skills are obvious but overhandles the puck and has to use his linemates more.
Engqvist: I like him a lot and I think he'll be a coaching staff favorite soon. Nice shotblock in the first I think, and a nice assist.
Weber: Seems to be playing with a lot of confidence. I think he knows he needs to bring it more than ever.
Everyone else was either a veteran (so who cares) or I didn't notice them.
I was impressed with Yemelin's skating and puck skills. He looked lost sometimes in his defensive coverage but, correct me if I'm wrong, but he played man-to-man coverage, which is the way they often play defense in Russia? I think he'll be fine once he learns the system.
Diaz also has nice skills and will surely make the team someday. His puck-moving skills and vision are there. He'll need time to adapt, like Mark Streit.
Tinordi and Gill had horrible games.
Weber was pretty good all-around.
Kostitsyn was awesome. I think he'd be a good match with DD and Eller.
Trotter made some defensive mistakes but offensively, his linemates couldn't keep up. I think he has nice skill and vision and could do well in case of injury in our top 9.
Even though he doesn't speak a speck of french, Beaulieu is still of French origin. Bo-li-euh more or less. If you insist on trying to say it without a French pronunciation, it would be Bow-liou, a very American style.