Here's my first summary in awhile. I've been away.
Best Forward: Gustav Nyquist. This kid is money. He's one of those rare players who can use their small size to their actual advantage rather than allowing to be a drawback; he's good at getting into the small spaces of the ice. Honorable mention: the Euro Twins, who both performed very well (because they're a unit, I can list them as one, right?).
Worst Forward: Dan Cleary. Who else? I can only hope that he was given time with Datsyuk as an absolute last chance. Whatever the case, Babcock didn't seem pleased; Cleary was 8th amongst forwards in ice time. Rightly so, as he is absolute, gasping death to the offensive-zone cycle. Honorable mention: Nobody in particular; Tatar had that unfortunate giveaway in the final 30 seconds, but while the result was likely irksome for Gustavsson, it did not affect the outcome of the game.
Best Defenseman: Niklas Kronwall. Not much to say here; he had a solid but unspectacular game. Honorable mention: Jonathan Ericsson, for the same reason.
Worst Defenseman: Kyle Quincey. All told, this guy has been worse than anyone on the planet could possibly have anticipated. Honorable mention: Brian Lashoff, for having a weak immune system. ( )
MVP: Gustav Nyquist, who showed once again why he's an NHL-caliber player. He performed extremely well on what turned out to be the 1st line.
Goat: Dan Cleary. Quincey sucks, but he's a necessary evil right now. Cleary sucks, and he's not. This team needs scoring, and Cleary's presence actively hinders that; meanwhile, he brings absolutely nothing to the defensive of the game, cannot grind, cannot play an energetic game of any sort, and cannot even skate or shoot the puck effectively, making him positively worse than useless. If one had a vehicle that were unable to perform even the basic duties of locomotion, then it would be either repaired or consigned to the scrap heap. Cleary is uanble to perform the basic duties of hockey, and, as is evident by the utter failure of his knee surgeries to improve his performance, he cannot be repaired. He's given a lot to this team in the past, but he really, truly needs to go now.
Overall Grade: B. Offense was quite good, with 47 shots, though this can in part be attributed to poor play by the Hurricanes. Defense was decent. Play was sloppy at many points. In many ways, this is a team still searching for its identity. They'll get there, but this kind of effort won't be good enough to beat the league's upper-echelon teams. That said, the injuries to Alfredsson and DeKeyser really do not help.
- The line assignations ended up ass-backwards. The 2nd line was the 1st line in terms of icetime and gameplay. The 1st line was the 3rd line in terms of both, and the 3rd line was the 2nd line. I can't help but blame this on Dan Cleary. I may even be right. Whatever the case, it's baffling. We'll see it explained by whatever the line combinations are next game.
- Franzen is playing quite well since his return. He's working hard in the offensive zone and creating chances, and his play in the defensive zone isn't half bad. I do wish he'd shoot more, though; he seems to waffle back and forth whenever he's got a chance to do so, and often opts to pass instead.
I'm going to stop here, as I'm on a computer that is so much worse than merely terrible; I'm constantly concerned that this browser will crash (thus deleting this entire post), as it can barely handle forum-going. G'nite, all.