Shhhh…there is a hockey game going on. In Sweden, everything is inverted. They are real quiet at hockey games but rebel-rousers in church.
Anze Kopitar is a cold beer on a hot, warm, cool, cold or rainy day. He is a size D at a no t-shirt contest. He is the cat’s meow and purr. I love Anze Kopitar.
Mike Richards is the better Richards – one goal, one assist and Johnny on the spot throughout the game. Terry Murray is not the only one who appreciates his defensive acumen. The prodigal son also played well and has taken a fine training camp & preseason and carried that over to game one. Keep it up Richie.
Speaking of training camp and preseason, Drew Doughty missed it. Tonight, he played like he missed it. Not great. Not bad. A few mistakes I could have done without and, not for a lack of effort, one step behind the play on the defensive side. Did you freak out a little bit when he didn’t return for a few shifts? I didn’t. Wimp.
Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t suck. I still find myself pausing typing a v after a q.
I have no words on the Rangers’ Ryan Callahan goal. When a netminder gives up a bad angle goal like that, he’s off his game. He’s not focused. Quickie has been off through camp and preseason. It carried over to tonight. Fortunately, he appeared to get better as the game wore on. Not good. Just better.
So, we’ve discovered the secret to unleashing the powerplay – a 4 on 3. Imagine the damage we could do if it was 5 on 1. We may end up in the top 5 in the league. The powerplay problems remain unsolved. Better movement? Yes. Better? No. It’s the same tired half-boards game with the sole goal being to get the puck to the point for a shot and “hope” that it gets through, followed by a “hope” there is a rebound. Did you see Anze Kopitar’s first goal? One timer. Mike Richards’ goal? A lateral pass and tip. Both were on the transition. You didn’t see that on a set play, 5 on 5. It doesn’t exist on the powerplay. Sending the pass laterally and forcing the goalie to move as such is the high percentage play. If our powerplay is going to be efficient, the focus has to shift away from the boards and point and get more to the high percentage areas. There has to be balance. A one-dimensional system won’t work.
I loved our defense, especially in the first period. We eliminated the Rangers’ forecheck by getting to the puck before they did. The short pass followed by the stretch one was worked to perfection in the first and, for the most part, throughout the game.
Unlike my gripes with the powerplay, we were better 5 on 5. The greater skill helps. Richards and Gagne are a big boost – two defensively responsible forwards who want the puck on their stick and have a nose for the net. What impresses me about Gagne is his passing ability. We think of him as a sniper but he can put the puck from his tape to his center or wing’s hard, fast and accurate.
Admit it, when Kopitar scored that goal, you jumped up with a “fuck yeah!”
How about Alec Martinez? 24 years old, took a little longer to get here but the puck loves him and it goes where he wants. Of the three, I am not sure who has the best release? Martinez, Doughty or Johnson? It’s close.
Zuccarello should be suspended out of principle for having a funny last name with 10 letters.
1-0 and, in other news, the Ducks got their tail feathers handed to them. There is balance in the world.