And we’re off and running. Had you forgotten what a season feels like when it starts in October? You probably did. I know I had. Let’s get right to the bullets.
-First, the ceremony. This is something the Hawks organ-i-zation really does well, if not a little over the top on patting themselves on the back. But the use of the ice as a big screen is always cool, and just like in 2010 they used interviews with the players to highlight the key moment (this time being the :17). It really brings it home that they were in just as much shock as we were. We were all kids then. Speaking of which, nice touch on having the kids bring the banner to the players, though it would have been better to give them a quick, personal introduction.
-I always find it a little off that Rocky is wildly cheered when introduced, same with McDonough, but then I hear all the moaning when ticket prices are raised. Who do you think does that? Still, they both deserve the cheers, because all we ask is that they provide us a winner for our money.
I have to admit, there’s a small part of me, a very small part (like microscopic), that admires the way Bettman knows he’s going to get booed and gleefully keeps showing up at every occasion. He almost revels in it. It’s quite the heel performance. The former wrestling fan in me gets it, I guess.
-Right, to the hockey. I had forgotten what October hockey can be like. Loose, sloppy, and weird. There was some definite rust out there, as even those who had a full preseason hadn’t had much of one with the guys they would actually be playing with. The Hawks had trouble connecting all night, giving the Caps life for the first 30 minutes. It’ll get straightened out.
-Ok, let’s get something straight on Brandon Bollig. No one would be happier than me if he turns out to be a useful player. But one goal does not make him that, and his cherry picking at the Caps’ blue line isn’t going to help anyone if it continues. And then he backed up by taking an offensive zone penalty. And he was still the only Hawk to not crack 10 minutes. Again, I would rather be wrong and the Hawks benefit than vice versa, but we’re not there yet. And it looks like Ben Smith could be used on the penalty kill.
-So apparently the Hawks aren’t going to give Handzus games off, but periods off here and there. Or something.
-A lot of angst about the way the Hawks PK sagged off the Caps, allowing three goals. But I’m not sure what you do. If you go flying at Backstrom and Green they’ll pick you apart. You have to cheat over to Ovechkin which opens up more space to begin with (you’ll see it again Saturday with Stamkos), and to go high pressure from there would be death. Then again, it was death anyway. Eh, one game.
-Here’s the thing with Joakim Nordstrom. It’s going to be hard to hide that he’s 160 pounds. He may be determined, but he’s just not going to win battles. The Ovechkin goal stemmed from a battle along the boards he got housed in.
-While we’re on the kill, Hossa was out there for it. I really think this is a bad way to go. Yes, taking him off the kill might only save him a minute per game, but I think it would make a difference, as good as he is on it.
-Oh, it’s much brighter in the UC now, and there appears to be a new lighting grid. All for it. Looks great.
-And with that new light, Jimmy Hayes still looks kinda slow and more unwieldy than strong. But again, one game.
-Ok, maybe some of you are right. Maybe Brandon Saad won’t score 24 goals. BUT HE’LL SCORE 100 POINTS!!!!
-I don’t know why hockey fans go nuts for the two-pad stack that Crow nailed in the 5-on-3 (and I’m one of them). We all love old school. Basketball fans probably love it when someone pulls out the sky-hook for finger roll from 10 feet (the one thing I could do…..was finger roll). It’s just kind of awesome.
-Sorry to those of you who didn’t get an Indian tonight. For one of the few times in my tenure I miscalculated how many I would need. It’s a nice problem to have, though. Thanks. Make it up to you.
Right, one down. 81 to go. Onward.