Chris Note: This is sort of combination post consistanting mostly of guest blogger Alex P. with some of my additions to the end (and the photos/captions). Enjoy.
Step One to Becoming a Detroit Red Wing: Hate Kris Letang.The first preseason game was played Wednesday, and boy was it nice to see the guys playing again. Now, I had been counting down to it since Friday, May 13 – the day after Game 7 against SJ. I was really excited, but a preseason game is a little bit different. The goal celebrations aren’t as big, the names on the jerseys are written in a foreign font, and we see a Griffin/Red Wing hybrid (which we really aren’t all that unfamiliar with due to the massive injuries of the ‘09-‘10 and even the ‘10-‘11 seasons).
While watching it, I was able to make some observations which I would like to share with you, especially in case you were unable to view the game:
- Datsyuk was good, assisting on both DRW goals. He wasn’t showy or spectacular, but hey, it’s still the preseason. His blind pass to Kronwall on the first goal was beautiful and “Pure Datsyuk.” Of note, Datsyuk scared the crap out of me when I saw he was wearing the number “24” in memory of Salei. At first site I thought it was creepy, until I learned it was Pavs. Nice move though.
- Kronwall played with confidence, and played the most of anyone on the team with a TOI of 25:42. His goal was well placed and a good wrister. In the past seasons he has seemed to shoot a little high of the crossbar, but Wednesday’s goal was excellent. Let’s hope he keeps it up so he can jump in on plays as Lidstrom does.
- Hudler got credit for a goal because he tipped it in before it trickled past the Pen’s Thiessen. Not sure if it was well deserved, but he did play well. He also hit the post with a solid shot which barely missed. It’s only one game, but he looked pretty alright.
- Commodore stuck out like a sore thumb as the largest DRW defenseman we have seen in some time. The guy’s big. He was nothing terribly special, but had a few good hits and spent 14 and a half minutes on the ice.
- Smith registered 2 shots and nearly 20 minutes of ice time. Babcock was clearly trying to get an idea of what he can bring, especially on the Power Play as he spent the second most time of defensemen on the ice during the man advantage (second to Kronwall). He seemed to keep up throughout the game, and finished a +1.
Ericsson, on the other hand, couldn't even stand up. That ice is slippery!
- Cleary played a strong game, and totaled 5 shots in 18:10 minutes of ice time, despite sitting for a 5 minute penalty. He looked real strong, especially when working in the corners and when controlling the puck.
- I wasn’t overly impressed with Tatar and Mursak, but I thought Exelby and Pyett played well. It’s just my opinion, but I expected more out of Tatar and Mursak since they have played at the NHL level in the past.
- Howard looked fine. He was able to get a piece of two of the three goals, and the third was tipped in the crease. He ended with a .850 save percentage, which he’ll need to improve by quite a bit. He didn’t seem too rattled though; I think he is too grown up for that. Howard did have some brilliance in the second period when he was all over the crease stopping shots a la Brodeur style. It was a little sloppy looking, but he stopped them all at that point.
- Chris Note: Some people are already on Howie for the fact that he really should have had a few of these. Please realize people, it is preseason, where the bugs are worked out. I liked the fact that he made some big saves, the sloppy stuff will go away with some game play. So to all you who hate on Howie for absolutely no reason, please stop.
- Joey Mac looked pretty solid too. He went 6 for 6 with a perfect save percentage in his first NHL outing of the year. Looked to have pretty good positioning.
- Chris Note: Standard Macdonald, he's a good goalie who needs to be a better skater to really be a star in the NHL. He's more than capable though of being a solid #2 if needbe.
Unfortunately, the second game which was played on Thursday (4-3 Wings Win in a shootout) wasn’t really televised, except for a Flyers broadcast which I couldn’t view in my locality (Chicago). According to what little I have been able to read, it looks like the shootout was pretty interesting with Ian White scoring in the EIGHTH ROUND. White also had a goal in the third playing on the power play. Helmer looks to have had a shorty, and Filpula scored a goal as well.
White is a goal scoring machine.I can’t find a box score for the game either, (other than this) so I’m not exactly sure how the ice time figured out and who Babcock was playing on the power play. This London game really looks like it was quite informal (Chris Note: And unfortunatly, racist). It’s too bad too, because I was looking forward to seeing these Jurco and Nyquist guys playing with the likes of Zetterberg, ‘Tuzzi, and Mule.
Chris Note: I've found a blurry Youtube of the shootout. Check it out.
Is it October 7th yet?