As much as I tried to just sit back and enjoy the game as a fanÂ last night, I couldn’t help but take a few notes (this might have been because we ended up sittingÂ among the scouts). So without further ado, here are a few additional observationsÂ from last night’s tournament opener to supplement Derek Harmsworth’s excellent coverage.
Nazem Kadri continues his torrid play with another 2 goals last night against the Sagniaw Spirit. The first one was an absolute beauty, really highlighting upon all of Kadri’s strengths. He’s deep in the corner boards of his own zone, makes a clearing attempt that eventually squeaks out, bursts out of his end with a great deal of speed, lifts the defender’s stick to steal the puck, pulls off a pretty toe drag move with a top corner shot through the defender’s legs. Outstanding.
Click here to watch it.
Tonight’sÂ loss against the Northeast rival Buffalo Sabres seemed to play out like the typical Maple Leaf ’09-’10 regular season game thus far. A fairly decent effort for about 75-80% of the game, a few brain cramps here and there, a ton of unconverted offensive opportunities, an unlucky bounce or two, along with the end result of an “L” in the record books.
I’ve been watching Luke Schenn closely this season, looking for creep of the sophomore jinx. Everyone is a little banged up at his junction of the schedule, but he might be playing through some hurt. The rust is off in the NHL, and players are hitting stride, making the young blueliner vulnerable as the games get more intense.
It’s a hit no one ever wants to happen. It’s the type of collision in which there was no intent to injure, and still a player is left in an unfortunate state. It’s the hit that has left Ben Fanelli in a critical but stable state in the hospital with skull and facial fractures, and Mike Liambas at home deeply depressed and feeling awful over the game he loves.
Coughing up the lead late two games in a row is obviously a bit disconcerting considering the history of this team in that respect. But this pre-season is about shaking lingering habits from the former era and, as PPP points out, this is the perfect opportunity for Ron Wilson to kick some of these tendencies. That’s not to mention the fact that tonight’s collapse was largely the result of some rookie mistakes on the part of John Mitchell and Justin Pogge, who played great games otherwise.