Overall, I'm happy with where we're at. I do miss the old ways of the old days, when we could snooze for an entire game and still win by a four-goal margin, relying on our obscene collective skill level alone to carry us. But those days are long gone, and you know what? In a way, it's a good thing. Because it means every man has to really bring it every game or we're in trouble. I'm not necessarily saying our, say, blue line is better without Lidstrom, Stuart, and Rafalski (it's not), but you get the point. There can't be any coasting (unless you're Franzen) (OH YES I DID), and I like that. It brings out the best in the guys. It keeps them honest.
Same idea with Helm and Nyquist being out. We're having to find a way to get things done without them, and so when they do finally return, it should - like Holland says - be like adding two big acquisitions to an already formidable lineup.
I think the biggest and/or most plesant surprise - at least for me - has been Daniel Alfredsson. We're all expecting him to be a secondary or tertiary contributor, but so far he's been one of our most valuable players. (Alright, maybe not from the beginning of the season - but certainly over the past several games.) It's funnny because, the way Holland framed it, Alfie is supposed to be more of a goal-scorer and Weiss is supposed to be more of a playmaker. But it's sort of been the other way around, no?
2. Looks like a cheap shot, at least on the surface of it. I can see how maybe he was just focused squarely on something on the bench and for that reason he might not have really seen Stepan. But that does seem like a bit of a stretch.
3. Brouwer's not known as a dirty player, is he? My impression of him is that he is what he says he is - an honest, hard-working guy that's not prone to this kind of thing. That's the big thing that makes me think this might not be as clear-cut as it seems. Now, if this were, say, Ovechkin....
Cleary is doing nothing that Tatar could not do more effectively. He tries his best, as ever, but his body is broken.
To be fair, Cleary is much better defensively, and he does still provide a good degree of "grit and such." I am, of course, a big Tatar fan, and I hate that he's not playing - but he is, at present, a smallish, one-dimensional scorer. Not necessarily saying I'd take Cleary over him, mind you. Just sayin'.