Since it’s just the pre-season, we’re going to keep this really simple and not get too excited about things. Cut us some slack here though folks, the season is fast approaching and this is our first taste of the year. Pre-season hockey is our really crappy appetizer that we totally love despite how unhealthy it is for us.
Plus: Bryan Little and Fredrik Pettersson played well for Atlanta scoring a goal a piece. Columbus appears to have a strong unit of guys ready to play for Springfield in the AHL next year.
Minus: Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec played the full game and saved just 21 shots in the loss. Not exactly an inspiring performance.
Plus: Panthers 2010 #1 pick Erik Gudbranson had a goal and an assist. Anton Babchuk scored in his pre-season re-debut with Carolina.
Minus: Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward sleep-walked through his 30 minutes on the ice allowing three goals in 20 shots.
Philadelphia 4 – New Jersey 3 (F/SO)
Plus: Adam Mair had a goal for New Jersey. Mair is with the Devils on a professional tryout. Scoring should help his case. All other goal scorers were important players for both squads (Dainius Zubrus and Jamie Langenbrunner for New Jersey; Daniel Briere, Jeff Carter, and Darrol Power for Philly). It’s nice to see them get on the board right away.
Minus: What’s worse than a pre-season game going to overtime? A pre-season game that goes to the shootout. I know it’s the rules of the game, but putting the shootout aside for the pre-season isn’t the worst idea. After all, even baseball has tie games in their exhibition season.
Plus: Sens prospect Robin Lehner stopped 24 shots in earning the shutout. Chris Neil had a goal and two assists while virtually permanent AHLer Corey Locke had a goal and an assist for Ottawa. Toronto’s Jay Rosehill fought and ruined Ottawa’s Zack Smith. If this game were judged on fights rather than goals, Toronto would win going away.
Minus: Everything Toronto did in this game stunk. Their power play went 0-for on the night and looked hapless in doing so. Ottawa’s Swiss hero Roman Wick was a no-show.
Plus: Colorado’s rough penalty kill from last year was nowhere to be seen in this game. Injury-recovered forward David Jones scored for the Avs as did prospect defenseman from Boston University Kevin Shattenkirk.
Minus: Not an inspiring start for Jaroslav Halak stopping just 15 of the 18 shots he faced. Despite the Blues outshooting the Avs 34-18 they still lost by two goals. Apparently the Avs wanted to keep up what they did last year in getting outshot wildly while still winning. After all, if it ain’t broke…
Plus: Tampa’s Adam Hall, fighting for a spot with the Lightning, got off to a great start scoring two goals. Dominic Moore also scored as did Mattias Ohlund. It’s a funny thing for Ohlund as he scored zero goals last season. Tomas Vincour had two assists for Dallas. Dan Ellis played well stopping 17 of 19 for Tampa.
Minus: Uninspired goaltending from both Brent Krahn and Andrew Raycroft for Dallas as both guys gave up two goals in split duty. They’ll be battling all during camp to win the backup goalie job behind Kari Lehtonen. A special minus goes to us for not knowing that Dallas had Swiss Olympic favorite defenseman Severin Blindenbacher in camp trying to win a job with the Stars. We are sieves.
Calgary 3 – Vancouver 1 (Vancouver)
Calgary 3 – Vancouver 2 (Calgary)
Plus: Kudos to Calgary for sweeping the split-squad, split-city affair with the Canucks tonight. Great job by both teams to bring a heated rivalry to both cities to kick off pre-season action. It was also nicely done for both teams to feature some of their bigger stars in their home rinks to make it work. Heck, even Ales Kotalik scored tonight.
Minus: Vancouver dropping both games. We’re sure the fans in Vancouver are already lathered up in a panic of some kind.
Plus: Phoenix’s youth showed up to play. Kyle Turris and Victor Tikhonov each scored while AHL lifer Brett MacLean and journeyman Andrew Ebbett also tallied. Bobby Ryan notched Anaheim’s lone goal showing no rust after a tumultuous off-season off the ice.
Minus: It’s not much of a minus, but getting goals from both Turris and Ebbett only helps to make coach Dave Tippett’s job harder deciding who stays and who goes back to San Antonio. This camp is a big one for Turris as he’s been the Coyotes top prospect for the last few years running. Now is his time to show he can stick in the NHL and getting a goal and assist right off the bat should help out. Ducks first round pick Emerson Etem had no points and was a -2 in the game while playing just 10:59 of the game. First steps can sometimes be the hardest.