It's been a hot minute, hasn't it? I must apologize, but a lot has been going on, the good and the bad, that has kept me away from tippity typing away. Relationship status changes, job schedule changes, money pit home improvement changes and what-to-use-my-free-time-on-as-a-hobby changes - even seat changes (303 B! Up from H this year!). Change seems to be the theme of this past month and change is what will be taking place over these next pre-season games. Changing up lines, changing pre-conceived notions about the younger players, and, hopefully beyond hope, changing the way Special Teams takes to the ice.
Tonight, we saw a team of primarily rookie players take on a team of primarily top line NHL professionals (sans their goalie). It was a chance to see what many of our draft picks were finally made of on the big stage. Some performed well. Most performed like rookies playing against veterans. And there were enough broken sticks in this game to make an NHL11 demo blush. Players we all had high hopes for made some poor mistakes (see Blum, Laakso, Beck). Others were a pleasant surprise (Parent - looking a few tads better than Franson out there). And then there were the familiar names we all know and love, putting on a helluva a show for us whenever they took the ice (Rinne...my god, Rinne; Tootoo, Dumont, Goc).
All of the above will change, of course. I'm sure Dekanich, who played alright in net for the 2nd half of the game, will be replaced with Pickard and/or Lindback over the next few games, and THAT situation may change completely with the possibility of a Theodore or Toskala hanging out on the sidelines with their trapper gloved fingers crossed.
What won't change is the passion the fans have, putting us over 14k for the evening (see pic of Coyotes/Kings pre-season opener here). What won't change is the fact that this year's team is looking to be the best team the city has ever had on the ice. What won't change is...well...the Poile/Trotz tandem and their mad genius that only shows itself as the season goes on and as the homegrown drafted players grow into captains. The respect the rest of the world has for this team...that WILL change, despite our city's local rag of a paper flat out refusing to change. That shouldn't be a surprise though - the same thing happens with our local rock bands: the world takes notice, while we refuse to say anything nice cos we're too busy criticizing things that don't really matter...though that's a whole 'nother rant.
Anyway - what we saw tonight was a welcome change to what we've had over the last 3 months (no hockey, whatsoever) and it was an interesting experiment to say the least. Let the younguns season up a bit, try out every goalie to see if they can hold their own and thensome, watch that Rinne save on the highlight reel over and over again and put him a round or two higher in your fantasy rankings and get ready for a helluva season.
In other news...I answered a lewd classified ad and found myself becoming a writer for Intent to Blow. Weeeeeird, right?! But awesome.
A Goalie A GoGo update will take place soon. I've been gathering equipment and talking with a few folks that would also love to see me between the pipes. I personally can't wait (but I have to...cos I still don't have a helmet yet).
Damn...it feels great to be back, doesn't it?
Preds in review: Gabriel Bourque
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