John's in Vegas so you'll have to put up with my half-assed version of what he does tonight.
I like Andrew's advice against planning the parade, but gosh if it didn't feel like we just stepped back 3 months in time; like they hardly missed a beat over the summer. It was all very "I love it when a plan comes together" wasn't it?
Anyway, as Forecheck mentioned in the comments on Andrew's post, plenty to work on. Lord have mercy, the penalties, for one. As Torchetti said after the game, you should be getting bench penalties maybe once every 40 games. They got two tonight. Plus 7 others. Though I question a couple of them. I mean, that delay of game on Genoway for holding the puck was pretty silly, IMO. Let 'em play.
Hackett was impressive, especially after a relatively light first couple of periods, where he didn't have to make many saves. They were important saves, though, because the rest of the team was like the Keystone Kops for the first half a period.
But the three penalties in a row that they had to kill midway through the first seemed to snap them into gear and from there it was Casey Wellman haunting poor Matt Climie (again!) and a full on blitz from every other line.
Andrew mentioned that Ortmeyer goal, but I'm going to mention it again. Holy... that was.... wow. I want someone to make a GIF of that so I can watch it over and over and over. And really, several of the goals tonight were pretty enough for all of us on press row to be looking at each other in disbelief.
I also enjoyed seeing little bursts of what some of the new guys are about. Foucault with some sick hands around the net at one point... give that kid some room and look out. I'm gonna wager he's a hot shot in the shootout.
Taffe, of course, was skillful and solid like you expect him to be. And Nystrom did a good job setting aside the disappointment of even being in Houston instead of Minnesota and was excellent defensively. That leaping hit midway through the game was just so random and hilarious... It might have gotten him Shanabanned in the NHL, but nobody got hurt so it was okay in the A.
Best of all was the long-lived bad blood between these two teams. Always fun when there's real emotion there. Even more fun when you can best a team of scoundrels like the Wolves. (Kidding of course, lots of respect for those guys.)
Anyway, Torch seemed pretty happy with the game, while acknowledging some downfalls. And Wellman said they wanted to carry some momentum from last season and felt like they did a good job of it. But, he said, they have a 3 in 3 next weekend so I get the feeling that will feel more like a litmus test than tonight's one-off game did.
Wasn't able to get anything out of the team as far as roster moves, but Torch likes what having extra players does for not only motivating the guys who ARE getting the ice time, but also keeps the pace up during practice without wearing everyone out. With 3 in 3 this weekend, if there are still some spots to be won, maybe things get shaken up a bit.
That's all for tonight.
Thanks everybody for coming out in the awful weather. It was the second best turnout for a home opener since the team moved to the Toyota Center. And in that deluge, lesser fans might have stayed home, but the ol' barn felt pleasantly full, with parts of the upper bowl open for business even.
Next game, bring your tissues because I dunno about you guys, but I might get a little dust in my eyes when they reveal the Western Conference Championship banner. Hope there's room for it next to all of Climie's jocks...
The Coyle Conundrum
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