10/06/11- Studs and Duds
Ladies and Gentlemen, hockey has returned!
After nearly three long and strenuous months, the world's finest sport opened up the 2011/2012 year last night. In three epic games, the NHL started off with some great excitement. Who were the studs and duds of opening night? Read on to find out!
3) Twin Magic is Back
Henrik and Daniel Sedin started the new regular season the exact same way the ended the last one. Daniel and Henrik combined for 1 goal and 3 assists in their shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. As always, the twins looked dangerous all night, and have the chemistry that all teams desire from their top line.
2) What Concussion?
Matthew Lombardi was given a pretty bad break. The centre played only 2 games in the 2010/2011 season before concussion issues played an effect on his ability to play the game. To some, this was the likely end of the young centre's career. On Thursday, Lombardi played his first game in about a year, and his appearance was noticeable. Lombardi was the fastest Leaf on the ice, and his speed translated into a short-handed goal in the 2nd period, the eventual game winner. A fantastic game from Lombardi, in what had to have been a very emotional game.
1) "Cooke"ing up Production
Matt Cooke is making front page headlines across many sports websites and newspapers, and not for his suspect antics. On Thursday, Cooke led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 victory, scoring 2 goals, one of which was shorthanded. Many people (myself included) dislike Cooke for his questionable hits and foul play, but he proved to the NHL community that he can produce in a positive way to his team. If he can continue to score goals and stray away from headshots, Cooke will become a fan-favourite in Pittsburgh after nights like that.
Roberto Luongo was the subject of controversy at the end of the 2010/2011 season, with fans and media alike agreeing that "Bobby Lou's" game was not up to the standard that he needs to keep. Heading into a new season, Luongo's mentality should be to play solid every night, and prevent "garbage" goals. While he was able to play solid throughout most of the night, all three of the goals he allowed were very weak, and shouldn't have gone in. Here is a link to the NHL boxscore, and all three goals can be seen there.
Luongo has to prevent those bad angle and bad placed shots from squeaking in. If he had done so last night, the Canucks would have likely won the game.
2) Michalek's Miserable Statline
There have been better days in Zybnek Michalek's career than the one that he had yesterday. In 22 minutes of ice time, Michalek was on the ice for all three goals, leaving him as a -3, and the current "leader" among minus players. Along with having a penalty, this was a forgettable night for Zybnek, and his play needs to improve prior to next game.
1)The Man "Dis"Advantage for Canadian Teams
Last night, 3 Canadian teams were in action; the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, and Canucks. Combined, these 3 teams amassed 12 power-plays, and failed to score on one of them. In fact, more goals were scored short-handed (2) against these teams than the three had goals on the power-play. A complete pathetic showcase of the special teams, and something clearly needs to be worked on during the next practice.
Goals of the Night
Dion Phaneuf http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywbBO...el_video_title
Claude Giroux http://www.youtube.com/user/nhlvideo...15/00lGHqGrx7w
Brad Marchand http://www.youtube.com/user/nhlvideo...14/34jPGI9aL94
Just as a note to finish on, there will be no "S & D" columns for the weekend, as it is Canadian Thanksgiving. Articles will resume for Sunday's games.
Until next time,