Hard-earned point tonight but a disappointment nonetheless with tonight's 2 - 1 loss to Tampa. I'll keep this brief so we can get back to the bantering on Jan's blog. I would have just included this as a comment but it is a little too long for that.
First on MZA: I think we can all agree we like this kid. He battles hard and works along the boards. He shows good instincts and a knack for getting to the scoring areas. He's shifty and avoids opposing checkers pretty well.
I would like to say we've got a Marty St. Louis clone but that might be a little premature. He does have some of the same traits though.
I am also impressed with his skating. He moves better than I expected. I thought that was one of his weaknesses.
He definitely needs to improve upon his defensive coverage. He's willing but he has lost sight of his responsibility on several occasions. I don't have the numbers in front of me but I didn't see him at all for a chunk of the 3rd period. Torts has said he doesn't yet trust him in tight spots. I wonder if Torts saw something in MZA's game tonight that earned a temporary benching.
Now on to Gabby. We need to remember that while he is far and away our most talented offensive player he isn't a Alex Ovechkin or Sydney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.
Gaborik's top skills are his hands and his shot. He is not good at creating his own offense; thus why he struggles in shootout situations. Gaborik needs someone to set him up in prime scoring areas. He had that last year with Prospal who helped Gabby get off to a terrific start to the 2009 - 2010 season.
Whether it was his shoulder injury which caused him to miss a bunch of early games or something else, Gabby hasn't found chemistry with anyone yet. Torts has tried a bunch of linemates including; Derek Stepan, EC, MZA, Dubi and Frolov. I hate to have to wait for Prospal to return and hope he can spark Gabby's goal scoring but as long as we're winning games and earning points I will. Maybe tonight's tying goal with less than a minute to go off a great feed from DanGirardi will get him going.
I just want to remind all of the Rangers fans out there that Gabby isn't Crosby; he doesn't create. He needs someone to create for him so he can utilize his deadly shot and score goals. If he finds chemistry with someone and get it going then he is capable of scoring 20 in 20. THat would be sweet.
Ha, ha, ha! Caps beat Penguins at Heinz Pool, er.....Heinz Field tonight. I was too busy watching the Rangers game but evidently the ice was not so good. Who cares? As long as the Penguins and Crosby lose then I am happy.
Tampa acquired G Dwayne Roloson from the Islanders for D prospect Ty Wishart. I wonder if the Lightning really needed to add Roloson after watching rookie Cedrick Desjardins tonight but I have to admire Stevie Y for his work with the Lightning. He added UFA G Dan Ellis but that hasn't panned out as hoped. The Lightning are 27th in GA and with a good chance at a playoff spot Yzerman didn't waste any time improving his goaltending situation. Now I wonder if Mike Smith will be healthy again this season and if so, which one of Smith or Ellis will be the odd man out.
For the Islanders, hell they are in the midst of a terrible season. Questions abound about whether their ownership is even committed to icing a winner on Long Island. Just days after moving vet D James Wisniewski to Montreal for draft picks the Islanders now add a defensive prospect. Wishart, 22, is a former #1 draft pick of San Jose.