Monday, October 5, 2009

10 thoughts about Game 1: Minnesota

Hi, I'm back.  Busy weekend, and little time to do more CBJ-wise than watch the Saturday night opener against the Minnesota Wild.  Official highlights:

My 10 thoughts:
  1. The first-liners look ragged.  I think losing Huselius to the flu has done nothing to help the top line's timing.
  2. Rick Nash is going to do whatever it takes to win.  Reference the block at the end of the game.  He overflows with awesome.  
  3. Filatov has incredible talent, especially with puck-handling.  There were a couple times that he did things I haven't seen at Nationwide Arena since Nik Zherdev left town.  You can love Z or hate Z, but there's no arguing that he was a virtuoso with the puck.  
  4. Back to Filatov: There are times when the "weight" of the game will require that our waterbug stay off the ice, most likely to protect him from injury.  The end of the game was an excellent example.  Raffi Torres can bring the heft; Nikki probably can't (yet).
  5. Voracek needs to figure out how to control this massive body that he built up over the summer.  Too many wipeouts on the ice.
  6. The 3rd line is bestial.  Putting R.J. "I know how to score goals" Umberger on that line may have been a consequence of Filatov's quick rise, but it's genius that should make opposing coaches freak out.  3 VERY solid lines.  Now, Jason Chimera needs to recognize that the NHL doesn't award points for winning wind-sprints.  
  7. For the life of me, I cannot see why Jared Boll played over Derek Dorsett. Actually, I cannot see why Jared Boll is on the roster.  Maybe it's because Hitch wanted to avoid a distracting fight with Minnesota cheap-shot artist Eric Belanger on opening night.  Or perhaps it was the sweet poster shot:
  8. I saw a little of the opening night festivities on Fox Sports Ohio, and I'm sure they were good.  Most likely a little more toned down than opening night in Edmonton (long video, but ay caramba!). a hockey crowd a  likely Cirque du Soleil crowd?  On the bright side, the pipe and drum corps makes you appreciate the Canadian/British culture.  The old farts singing that odd song about Edmonton does not.  Enjoy:
  9. Good for Rusty - new contract and a game-winning goal.  Between the Minnesota game and his Chucky-like approach to Tomas Holmstrom in last season's Stanley Cup playoffs, I am cautiously optimistic that he will be deserving of every penny.  (Side kudos to GM Scott Howson for getting the deal done, then for making all the right noises about organizational loyalty going both ways.  Comments like that endear you to your warriors and fan base.)
  10. Hitch is a happy, happy man.  I can't tell if he's totally bluffing (his comments about Kris Russell lead me to think that at least part of his postgame comments were a bluff), but the combination of his pre-game appearances on local radio and on XM's NHL Live show tell me that he's happy as a clam that it's hockey time in this emerging hockey town.  Check the party out here - I love how he's hanging out with the peeps, grabbing snaps:
  11. Bonus thought: At least for one night, Mason is back to Calder form.  Considering how focused he is, I can't see how this will be out of the norm for the season.
On to Vancouver!  Mike Commodore made the flight, so perhaps he'll get some playing time before the road trip ends.

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