Hockey is upon us once again!
As much as I like baseball playoffs, nothing beats Game 1 (in North America) of the NHL season in my eyes. And I really couldn't believe my eyes when the Leafs survived three posts in the first 10 minutes of the game to win 3-2 against the Wings. Absolutely brutal game to watch, but a trap system played very effectively by the Blue and White. I would get into how much trouble the Leafs are in this season, but I could care less and seemingly so could they and their fans -- when Fletch said (not verbatim) they had only one top-6 forward on the team and not one player called him out publicly on it, well, you can see the pride these guys have in themselves. As Grapes said last night, I couldn't imagine my boss holding a press conference and saying to the media that his employees aren't great, but better days are ahead. Whatever...let's talk SENSATIONS!
I was a big fan of OTT playing game 1 and 2 overseas, if only because both games were at 2:30 in the afternoon -- nothing says good times like crushing afternoon pints with a Sens/Pens game on. Alfie playing in front of the home crowd was pretty special for him, and I laughed when he started throwing his gear into the crowd. "Mama, mama -- I have Alfie's elbow pad!" The rest of the players said the right things, but I would doubt that too many of them really enjoyed the hassle of starting the season so far from the Bank.
I thought game 1 left a lot to be desired -- the Penguins looked fierce with all the PP's, but why no one could pull the trigger with any authority is beyond me. Crosby looked great and hopefully the two sleds they brought in to play with him can elevate their games (as I have Sid in my keeper pool). That game should never have gone to overtime, but Spez and Malkin scoring shorties in the same game also should never have happened, so this game was a total anomaly in my eyes (like Kennedy scoring on the first and last shots of the game).
I would like to believe game 2 is a much more accurate representation of the squad we will be seeing this season -- fast, tough hockey with a team-wide commitment to getting the W at all costs. Heater laying out to block a shot on the PK reaffirms my logic for dropping the dollars on a #15 jersey and Hartsburg's reasoning for giving him the A. Smith is going to make life miserable for players this year. Jarrrrrrrrrrrrko! Ruutu is going to be a blast to watch this season, and take the focus off of some of our skilled guys. Winchy shocked the hell out of me as i pictured him to be more Eaves-esque, and not so physical. He owned the boards like Schaefer used to but actually moves the puck with purpose and was laying the body out with some conviction. All in all, this was hockey the way alot of us had always hoped Ottawa would play it. Whether it lasts all season is another story all together, but it leaves more then a sliver of hope.
I won't get into the goaltending as it is too early to say whether Gerbs is the right man or not but I will definitely say that game 1 isn't enough of a sample size to judge his worth. I'm sure fans of the Flames will agree with me after last night's effort by Kipper.
Big night tomorrow and it would be agony if the Leafs can beat the Wings on the road but we couldn't in our own building. I personally think this won't be an issue and we will trounce them, but stranger things have happened...6-2 Sens.
Ohh, and to touch on the Sundin or Gaborik rumours -- I don't think either would ever happen, especially Sundin who would have suited up opening night on home turf if he ever had the Sens on his short list. Gaborik is Havlat 2.0 -- flashy and fragile.
Attack, attack, attack, Sens army!! Lol -- funny that there were no job openings in the Sens marketing department after that debacle...