Tuesday, September 19, 2006

NHL preseason: Day 2 thoughts

Sabres 4, Maple Leafs 0. The only Sabres regular to score a goal was Derek Roy, as the team dressed seven prospects (The Leafs used four or five players who could be termed non-NHLers). By all accounts, this wasn't much of a game, and the media here are saying Andrew Raycroft was Toronto's best player. All four goals game on the power play, of which the game had 18. Jaroslav Spacek and Brian Campbell was Buffalo's top defensive pairing, a situation that's likely to carry over into the season.

Stars 5, Thrashers 2. A lot of unknowns in goal here, although Johan Hedberg and Mike Smith — who both played only a portion of the game — could very well end up the backups for their respective clubs. On the scoreboard, Dallas got a lot of contributions from their youngsters: Joel Lundqvist had one goal, while undrafted 26-year-old Junior Lessard played nearly 15 minutes and picked up two goals. One thing to watch with Dallas is the blueline, and the Stars went with (in order of ice time) Robidas, Boucher, Sydor, Niinimaa, Scalzo Jr. and Grossman. Zubov, Klemm, Modry and Daley all sat out. Highly regarded prospects Braydon Coburn and Boris Valabik picked up big minutes for Atlanta, and one of them is likely to gain a roster spot when the season kicks off.

Oilers 2, Panthers 1. Todd Bertuzzi left this one with a rib injury, which doesn't sound particularly serious, and Alex Auld finally suited up for Florida. Tom Gilbert, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin program last season, played big minutes on the Oilers blueline and picked up their first goal. He has size, youth (he's 23) and his numbers were strong in the NCAA, so this could be more than extended audition. Rob Schremp is also getting a long look, and he picked up one assist on Gilbert's goal. The Panthers are extremely deep up front and there likely isn't much room for a prospect to make the club, but on the blueline, 21-year-old Czech prospect Martin Lojek played nearly 22 minutes with Jay Bouwmeester and scored Florida's only goal. Lojek was in the ECHL for much of last season, but he's 6 foot 4, 235 pounds and will at the very least be fulltime in the AHL this year.

Kings 7, Ducks 1. Ah, a good old-fashioned preseason pounding. Where Los Angeles will get their offence from without Pavol Demitra is one of the real mysteries of this coming season, and it was unlikely sources like former Bruins defenceman Kevin Dallman (2 goals, 2 assists), Matt Moulson (1 goal, 1 assist) and Kazakh prospect Konstantin Pushkarev (1 goal, 1 assist) chipping in. Dallman may catch on, but the others are Manchester bound. The Ducks went with a pretty green roster, as Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, Chris Pronger and Andy McDonald (among others) sat out. 23-year-old defenceman Shane O'Brien played the second most minutes for the Ducks, and he's a good candidate to replace Vitali Vishnevski as a depth defenceman.


At 11:44 a.m., September 19, 2006, Anonymous PPP said...

Yeah the Leafs game was a huge snore-fest. It's pretty clear that the pre-season will play a huge part in the Leafs adapting to Maurice's style of play. You could see flashes of it in the first period (all I could watch) but it's very early.

Raycroft did look good though so that is promising.

At 12:04 p.m., September 19, 2006, Blogger Bar Americas said...

Oilers the best!

At 12:51 p.m., September 19, 2006, Blogger BlackCapricorn said...

I think that the Leaves are in trouble. As Howard was saying on 590- they didn't come out at all to play. Compare that to how the Sabres played, with energy and you can see what direction both teams are going.

At 1:04 p.m., September 19, 2006, Anonymous Daniel said...

I was at the Ducks vs. Kings game, it was pretty. The best part was the interview blurp with Chris Pronger on the big screen. And the quotes of expectations. The 4 fights were good too, I love seeing Sean Avery get punched!

At 1:29 p.m., September 19, 2006, Anonymous PPP said...

Yeah, I agree that after one pre-season game we should wrap this season up for the Leafs.

In the first period there was really nothing to choose between the Leafs and the Sabres so talk about how the teams started out on differing paths confuses me.

Not only do you have to take into account the fact that there are rookies and AHL guys playing but the Leafs also had a few new signings in the mix. Almost every team will look bad at some point in these 6-8 games but it is the pre-season.

And yes, seeing Avery get punched is pretty sweet.


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