Friday, September 22, 2006

NHL preseason: Day 5 thoughts

Flyers 2, Devils 1. Ken Hitchcock's line of Kyle Calder, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter continues to impress, and Carter in particular did well here with a goal and an assist. The Devils went with a pretty green line-up.

Avalanche 3, Red Wings 2. The first preseason shootout — oh joy! Former St. Louis Blue Mark Rycroft and Brett McLean, who had last season's quietest 40 points, picked up the goals for Colorado, and youngsters Wojtek Wolski and Paul Statsny chipped in during the shootout. Josh Langfeld, who has been punted around to three different NHL teams in the past two seasons, played decent minutes for Detroit.

Wild 5, Blues 2. The big guns were rolling for Minnesota, who iced a pretty full line-up tonight. Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik teamed up for a goal and two assists, while Brian Rolston had a pair of goals. How about these names for the Blues: Backes, Disalvatore, Glumac, Kahnberg, Mojzis, Polak, Whitfield — let's just say, we won't be hearing from most of them come opening day. When Jamie Rivers picks up the 2nd most icetime, you know it's a lean squad.

Predators 8, Blue Jackets 1. A good, old-fashioned pounding in Memphis. Expect Columbus to look lost without Sergei Fedorov, as they are oh so thin down the middle. Nashville's newcomers did most of the work here, especially Alex Radulov (1 goal, 1 assist) and Ramzi Abid (hat trick). Mikko Lehtonen, a Finnish veteran who should fill one of the spots on the Predators' blueline, also scored for Nashville.

Blackhawks 3, Panthers 2 (OT). Two goals for Bryan Smolinski, who is the defacto No. 1 centre in Chicago (shudder), and big icetime on the Florida side for some impressive rookies — namely Rostislav Olesz, who had a goal and is one to watch this season if he can find icetime among what is suddenly a cluttered forward corps in Miami. No real surprises here.

Oilers 4, Flames 3 (OT). The Battle of Alberta, AHL-team style, needed extra time to settle things, and it was Shawn Horcoff who ended it on a 3-on-4 play in overtime. The most interesting story on the scoresheet was Edmonton's Patrick Thoresen, a native of Norway who's father Petter is regarded as that country's equivalent of Wayne Gretzky. Patrick was a scoring star when he came to the QMJHL as a 17 year old five years ago, but went undrafted (likely due to his size) and played the past three seasons in the Swedish Elite League. Now 22, he has a contract with the Oilers, and at the very least is headed to one of their 36 minor-league affiliates. Thoresen had a goal and an assist last night.

Sharks 4, Canucks 3. It was all Milan Michalek tonight, as the big Czech had three goals and even a little scuffle (pictured) with Vancouver prospect Alex Edler. Not that Michalek needs to impress anyone — he's a lock to start the season on Patrick Marleau's wing. What else... how about rookie Matt Carle getting 21 minutes on a San Jose blueline that was very veteran-less. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault seems intent on resting most of his veterans through these exhibition games, as there were a lot of Vladimir Kutny types playing in this game again. Jesse Schultz, who had 37 goals in the AHL last season, hasn't impressed anyone in preseason so far, and the question of just where Vancouver's goals will come from is not any closer to being answered. Unless the Sedins both decide to pot 45 this year.



At 3:08 a.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger stytzer said...

As a Dane I think it's worth noticing that Jannik Hansen had a goal for The Canucks. Still just the preseason, but probably marks the first time a Danish player scored a goal at this level.

At 7:36 a.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger JP said...

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At 7:37 a.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger JP said...

Actually, Poul Popiel scored 13 regular season NHL goals back in mostly the '60s.

And no, I didn't know that off-hand - had to look it up.

At 7:55 a.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger stytzer said...

You're right about Poul Popiel and for some reason I forgot about him, because I did read an article about him a while back.
But he never actually played hockey in Denmark, so I guess I should change my comment to something like "the first Danish trained player...."?

At 10:02 a.m., September 22, 2006, Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

It's always hard to tell from pre-season, but indeed the Canucks might just be in a world of hurt up front. Brendan Morrison is still limping a bit, Naslund is a year older, Carter and Bertuzzi gone - it's pretty ugly. If the Canucks put together a winning season, and that's a big IF, they're going to have win a lot of 2-1 games.

At 11:56 a.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger joninabox said...

Here's hoping that Canuck fans' expectations for the Sedin twins come through, because if they don't improve on last year's performances Vancouver could be in for a rough year. Their lack of depth on offense and especially defense could really hurt them.

At 11:57 a.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger PJ Swenson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:01 p.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger PJ Swenson said...

Ah, Hansen was the guy who was in Portland. Where is he going to play if he does not make the Canucks roster?

At 5:52 p.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger Doogie said...

The first period of that Oilers-Flames game was crazy. Three PP goals and two shorties, one of them coming 3-on-5. Add a pair of fights, and it was damned entertaining. Too bad the rest of the night was fairly serene, at least until the Tjarnqvist OT penalty.

At 7:21 p.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger kurri_17 said...

That Oiler-Flames game was not AHL style from the Flames perspective. They fielded their NHL regulars in this one. The Oilers played with a half squad.

And we still beat the candles.

Ho Yeah!

At 7:21 p.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger kurri_17 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:21 p.m., September 22, 2006, Blogger kurri_17 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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