Okey doke, here's a few observations from last night (both good and bad) which I think bear heavily of the effectiveness of this team. I'm not going to talk about personnel moves because that's purely speculative at this point, and it's also beaten to death. So...
1. Pavel Datsyuk should never EVER play on the wing. Arguably the best playmaking center in the game, and without doubt the best stickhandler in the history of the game, needs to be carrying the puck. Period.
2. After Babs shook up the line combos there was a couple of quick scoring chances, and I generally liked the makeup of the first line after the change. Prior to the first game when the lines were announced, I thought putting Pav,Z, and Brunner was a mistake. No net front presence, two guys that need the puck to be effective, nobody that can power the puck into the zone, or hang onto it against big defensemen. That has born out in reality. From here on out I'd like to see Pav, Brunner, Franzen together and Zetterberg, Flip (on the wing), and Sammy/Bert. Nyquist and Flip should NEVER EVER play on a line together if it can be helped. Watching them overpass last night instead of take it to the net was infuriating.
3. The fourth line is super effective, and once Abby (who's also looking good) gets on it they are going to wreck shop. Expect bigger minutes from these guys in the future and eventually a lot more scoring. Also, Tootoo is awesome as hell.
4. Brian Lashoff, after another safe, effective, and poised game does not come out of this lineup any time soon. This kid's game translates well to the NHL because he's a good decision maker who doesn't try to do too much in terms of generating offense. He plays defense, gets the puck safely to the forwards, and his job is done. I like it, and we need more of it.
5. All in all the defense looked better last night, across the board. Quincey wasn't as bad as the last two games. Everyone played better. But thank god for Jimmy Howard, who's been a hero all three games.
6. Special teams: The PK looked better, but again, thank god for Howard. The PK will continue to improve as Helm, Eaves, and Ericsson get into the lineup/get playing optimally. The PP on the other hand, looks lost. It's as if they believe if they continue to pass it around enough, Lidstrom will magically appear and take the point shot for them. They need a lot more coaching to learn this new system, which is the one thing they haven't had so far this season. As they get a little time to learn it the system will work, but we have to remember that we've got four guys on the first PP who have always run a PP the same way for their whole careers. The change is necessary, but hard won. I like the new look though, with Brunner and Kronwall rotating between the point and the half boards, that movement is going to pay off. Almost did for Brunner against Columbus, had he one timed the puck. Once he learns his shooting angles he'll improve on the PP as well.
- HOCKEY MATTERS likes this