It's HOCKEY NIGHT in SMASHVILLE!!!
The Preds are back for their 2010-2011 season and come out swinging! This year's motto is simple: "Together". That is exactly what we saw tonight, the Preds playing as the Preds do. Goals came from everywhere (Goc, Sullivan, Hornqvist and Dumont respectively) and there were so many "almosts" to boot!
The game was also chippy as hell as penalties were handed out throughout the night. PK units were tested on both sides (both teams with rather effect 5-on-3 units...or just really crap PP units [Sully's scoring shift excluded]). Franky the Cube got into a fight with Troy Bodie (with half a foot on him), to which he said, "Size be damned" and lay waste to the opposing fighter's ass at a speed that would make Matthew Lombardi blush. I believe Shane O'Brien was surprised a handful of penalties had been issued in the 1st alone and none of them were against him!
I can't really pick stand outs because most everyone did everything right. SOB looked great out there for his first night as a Predator, blocking shots, picking up turnovers, keeping the puck in the zone...things that some of our lower line D don't seem to bother with at times. I can't wait to see more of him. Weber stood up for his teammates (Getzlaf trying to start something with Suter...Weber skated up right beside him and the tiff ended), Klein stood up for Rinne when...again...Troy Bodie...half-tackled/half-fell into the netminder causing a pileup on Rinne that resulted in an undisclosed injury despite him being able to play a shift afterwards, and being able to skate off on his own account (best possible scenario; see Josh Harding - MN Wild preseason game against the Blues for worst possible scenario).
Step in Anders Lindback.
No warm-ups, first NHL game, playing against a rather agitated opposing team. He played a bit nervous, but held his own against any rushes that got past his new teammates looking out for him as well. I overheard one fan say, "Might as well be Rinne!" It's true...Goc might as well have been Wilson. Sully might as well have been Erat. Legwand might as well have been Hornqvist (getting his own rebound even!) and Hornqvist...well...no...he's Hornqvist - no one parks it in the face of danger like he does. The point is...when you play strong together...you win games. No egos, no malarkey. Just hockey.
As long as the team plays like a Preds team does, I have no worries about the results of this season. If we can just tweak that PP strategy towards the direction of "effective" - even better.
Tis the season to be jolly...hockey season is back!!!
LET'S GO PREDATORS!!!