After decimating the Capitals on Friday night, the Canes sent in a different lineup against the Panthers. On Sunday, we didn't see Rod Brind'Amour, Corey Stillman, Justin Williams, Oleg Tverdovsky, Ray Whitney or Andrew Ladd¹. Those are some pretty key guys to miss, but that's what pre-season is all about; we've gotta give everyone a shot. We already know those guys (except Ladd) are on the team, and we already know about their work. We need to see what everyone else has.
Regulation and sudden death ended with the score knotted at 4, and we lost on shootout. Here's my observations:
Mike Zigomanis will definitely make the big team. He has been our best skater, bar none. In the first game, he had a goal and two assists. In yesterday's game, he added a really nifty goal and another assist. On his goal, he found a little hole of about six inches between the goalie's right leg and the near post. Aside from the scoring, he's out there really hustling, and it looks like he's got pretty good defensive skills, too.
Andrew Hutchinson has been amazing. Thus far, it looks like we abused Nashville in that trade. They got a third round selection for him, which they used to pick up a Finnish defensive prospect. I'm not sure I understand this. Hutchinson is young, and has already proven his mettle (at least at the AHL level),and is now proving himself to be NHL-ready. In Sunday's game for us, he continued to play a good brand of defense and he potted another goal, and an assist. His goal, on the power play, was a pretty easy one, but it sure was pretty. He found the goalie a little out of position, and buried it top shelf, glove side. Hutchinson has been the surprise of camp this year. We knew he had an offensive upside, but we certainly didn't expect this. And in his natural setting, defense, he hasn't given anything up. I know, I know.... It's just pre-season, but we're all very excited about the way he's been playing.
Martin Gerber did not give us the kind of game we were hoping for. I know he's maybe a bit rusty, and he may have been playing slightly hurt, but his play in periods one and two was shaky at best. He gave up lots of big rebounds, failed to freeze the puck a few times when he should have and failed to kick the puck into the corners when he should have. In the third period, however, I really liked what I saw. We'll need to take a couple more pre-season looks before complaining about his play. I like to think that he just had to shake the rust off.
Krispy is absolutely HORRIBLE. I focused on him for a little while, and I watched him hanging out by the Florida blue line, while Florida was down in our end having an unofficial powerplay. I'm not kidding. He was just STANDING there, 100 feet away from the action. He did this on two different occasions. He's a bum. A total bum. Oodles of raw talent, but no drive. We've been overly patient with this guy, and he hasn't paid dividends. We need to relegate him to Lowell, or maybe even release him outright.
By the way, all four of our goals came in the second period. Hutchinson, Staal, Wallin, Ziggy.
Next game: Wednesday versus the Thrashers and their new crew of Peter Bondra, maid Marian Hossa and Bobby Holik. For some reason, the Birds still list Ilya Kovalchuk on their roster. What's up with that?
¹ Andrew Ladd injured his back on Friday, and will be out for approximately one week. He remains unsigned, and the holdup appears to be in the area of performance bonuses.
3 years ago