Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's all over, we're going 0-82-0

Of course I'm being facetious, but I'm truly at peace with losing the first preseason game, with a quarter of the regulars playing. Sure, everyone would love to see them go 8-0 and dominate everyone, but they lost. So what? To be honest, I'm not so sure that they DIDN'T dominate puck possession. The way that first period looked, the Tampa players were going to wet their drawers, with the offensive talent the Hawks were showing. One silly cross-up in communication, and they go down 0-1. Silly? Yes! First game with a new goalie and a lumbering minor league defenseman that is best suited without the puck anywhere near him? YES! These things happen, and it's best that it happens in the first game of the preseason. I can tell already that I'm going to have to defend Turco, game in and game out, this year. He was rusty, I'll admit, and Tampa hit 3 posts in his time out there, but I've said it before, and I'll continue to say it; Marty is no worse that Neimi, and will prove that. I said it before he was signed, I said it when he was signed, and I maintain that. All that being said, He was playing a team that has multiple snipers, behind a grand total of three defensemen that he'll be playing with when the season opens. No Seabrook, Campbell, Hjalmmarson. Boynton and Hendry are clearly third line guys and neither one of them are assured steady playing time with people like John Scott, Brian Connelly, and Nick Leddy sniffing around. The one person that should never be sniffing anything is Jassen Cullimore. Just put him out of his misery, now. He's old, big, slow, and looks overmatched every time he's out there. The only thing i saw him do well last night was shoot the puck, and even that wasn't spiking my adrenaline levels.

Forward lines were a potpourri of young kids, sprinkled with a few studs, to keep them honest. Jeremy Morin, Jon Toews and Igor Makarov opened up, and looked pretty good together on the Toews goal. I like what I see of Morin and Makarov, but as things are, only one of them even has a chance of sticking, day 1. That person will be Makarov. That's saying either of them does make it. Morin is only 19 and could use some steady time on a top line with a lot of powerplay experience, and that will NOT happen with the Hawks this season. Give him a season or two in Rockford and this kid will be a STUD. I'm not so sure he already isn't, but he needs some seasoning. Makarov is in his early 20's and has played against NHL caliber talent in the KHL. He's ready to learn the ways of the NHL, and could very easily make us forget about the rapping phenom known as Kris Versteeg.

The second line was Bickell, Sharpie at center (as predicted by yours truly), and Stalberg. Sharpie was his usual McDreamy self, putting one in off his own rebound. You, sir, make the team. Bickell is a curious case. He digs hard in the corners, he can clearly hit an open guy with a pass, and he can throw his body around, but his puck carrying ability looks like that of my two year old. By puck carrying ability, I mean the only way way either of them can carry a puck is by actually physically picking it up. Stalberg had a fairly quiet night but he had sparks of serious speed and skill. I noticed him killing one of the million powerplays Tampa had, and his forechecking was relentless. He's still my pick to click for the year.

Third line was Pisani and Skille, with Evan Brophey. Everytime I hear the name Brophey, I think of Nick Brophey, the pants pissing player from Hyannisport Presidents in the movie Slapshot.

Anyway, Brophey actually looked pretty good out there, and even got some serious penalty kill time. He has a future somewhere as a third or forth line center, but with the plethora of talent here, he's going to end up in Rockford. That is, unless Potulny and Dowell completely choke. I honestly liked what I saw from Brophey over Dowell, but we'll get to Dowell in a bit. Pisani looked pretty good, and also saw some PK time. He looks like a savvy veteran that can not only log some serious PK time, but throw a couple of pucks in the net. Skille had some flashes of speed and skill, but was kind of lost on the third line. I really feel he will play best with solid talent around him, not a line of digging PK guys. Brophey and Pisani are forth line guys, and Skille is more suited to play with guys like Stalberg and Bolland. BUT, this is the first game of the preseason.

The forth line was a real snoozer. David Gilbert, and some guy named Tarnasky, playing with Jake Dowell. Dowell is really the only guy who was noticeable, whatsoever. His fight was laughable, as he got his jersey pulled over his head and was just pushed to the ground. The actual entertaining part was when he tried to pop his head back through and actually tore a hole through the back side of his jersey, so he was staring at the name plate on the back side of his jersey.

Fighting is not your forte, obviously.

I addressed the Turco deal earlier, and Toivonen was nothing to get excited over. His most interesting aspect is his mask. It's a little freaky, yet comical. Once I find an updated picture, I'll be sure to post it. The second aesthetic thing I want to address is Marty's pads. Of all the color combinations he could have picked, this one is clearly one of the worst. Red pads with the black accent. UGLY AS SIN! I'm beginning to think the man is colorblind. Only Huet's "Ketchup and Mustard" pads are worse, and that's partly because it was Huet wearing them.

Turco's atrocity of goaltending equipment.

EDIT: Here are the highlights of the game, feel free to check them out

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