it was a good game to go to! the team really came to play. I guess I'll just go with all my random observations in order that they come to me.
- The PK was awesome. I turned to my dad (my wife and I went with my folks. is there a better family event?) about a minute into the 4 min double minor to start the game and said "this is the most aggressive they've been on the PK in 10 years." that might be exaggerating, but they were far more aggressive, and continually forced poor decisions and passes by SJ with pressure on the puck handler.
- As much as I'm a Clark apologist, he had a poor game. He lost the puck a few times and misplayed a couple chances to clear. That said, his errors didn't lead to goals and he had some nice plays as the game went on, including a massive hit right in front of us. that pairing is gonna be rock solid when they get their communication and timing down.
- it was really cool to see Clark, Hannan and Budaj getting together after stoppages and during commercials to discuss the previous play and critique each other. they were very animated working out where they wanted each other to be and such.
- the top 2 new lines were great. Sakic's line had some good chances, and obviously the second was stellar. I initially thought that Smyth should play on that line with Stastny and Hejduk since he's like a really super good McLean, and that's exactly what it was -- he won battles on the boards, then got his ass in the goalie's face when Stastny and Hejduk got some room. When Stastny's line stepped on the ice, it tilted. It was really impressive.
- Stastny is indeed faster than last year, and it's really obvious in the defensive end. I can't say anything more than has been already said about him. He's just really really good and makes everyone better around him too.
- The 3rd line of Arnason, Svatos, and Wolski should be called the coin-flip line. If they happen to get the puck into the offensive zone, they're probably good for at least a decent scoring chance. If they get pinned in their own end, they're probably good for at least an opposing scoring chance. As good as they are offensively, they need to be broken up.
- Hlinka is fast, and a slick passer. he gets lost along the boards though.
- If I was the coach, I'd move Wolski to the top line LW (Wolski, by the way, continued his good play) and move Hlinka to the 3rd, possibly moving Arnason to winger. Hlinka would add some defensive responsibility to that line and faceoff skill, and Wolski fits Bruno and Joey's style on the top line better than Hlinka's. Plus, Wolski appears to have really elevated his play -- he's hustling hard and using his body in the corners.
- Leopold and Sauer are an excellent pairing. Sauer was physical and aggressive along the boards, and Leopold was physical and well-positioned all game long.
- I'll preface this by saying I loathe Skrastins's play, but him being scratched was huge. Finger and Liles really click as a pairing, and Finger adds a physical presence the Avs really need. and he can actually skate, unlike Skrastins. please Q, keep Skrastins on the bench!
that's all I got. Really fun game.