Just some casual mental notes, wasn't writing anything because I was eating too...might get the notebook out for the 2nd...:
- What a great forecheck we have. Really energetic 2-man forecheck that is doubly effective on this Binghamton team due to their lack of transitional defensemen. It's preventing them from getting the puck to their talented forwards - who have been tough to find (first AHL games for Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg, for instance...rather unnoticeable, not that I'm expecting a lot in the first period of their first game). Solo rushes by Mike Hoffman and Jean-Gabriel Pageau have been noteworthy, but ultimately not very promising as they appear to be rather one-dimensional players like they were back in the QMJHL.
- Our faceoffs have to be above 80% and I find that to be a conservative numbers. I haven't seen an important draw lost, and I'm trying to think of a loss in general and can't find one readily. Warren Peters and Trevor Smith are taking a lot of faceoffs...Riley Holzapfel is taking them too with some effectiveness.
- Our forwards are short on talent, but their big on energy, big on the forecheck, they're rather physical and do really good work on the boards. Holzapfel threw a nice-sized hit early on, which is a touch uncharacteristic for him. Payerl and Thompson are doing fine work on the boards. Tangradi too. No one can get Tangradi the puck because I see him out there with Warren Peters who can't pass (Tangradi-Peters-Dupuis, I think is what I see). In fact, none of these players can pass it seems. They carry it in and they make these stupid back passes against the grain that I tell little kids not to do because they are so low percentage but here we are...once it leaves the hands of our D, the passing stinks...will really negatively effect Tangradi's production, Bennett's too, who looks a tiny bit tentative (as you'd expect) on the rink...again, first period of pro hockey...
- Offense will be manufactured, usually off the cycle and a pre-packaged give n' go, chip n' chase situations...organic offense creators don't look obvious to me through one period. Again, they're short on talent but they need to work out some chemistry so they understand better where they'll be on the rink...but you can't do that with 11 forwards...so...until you get that out of there, you're not going to see spirited growth, IMO.
- Simon Despres looks very advanced here. Very thoughtful, calming influence on the rink. Have been impressed by him. Joe Morrow looks very advanced for a first-time as well. Has tried to wind up that big shot of his, but he's still adjusting to the speed so they're getting blocked. He's used to having more time in the slower WHL...he'll adjust quick, smart kid.
- Dumoulin hit a banana peel on the third turn and that caused a rush for the Senators...not a lot positive from him quite yet, was used on the PK (which is 3 for 3 and has looked brilliant - starts with faceoff wins, amplified by effective clearing, ends with creative entry closings). Samuelsson has a very good idea of positioning, which is good because he's slow. But he understands the geometry of the rink very well and is effective in using his body to buy his legs some time, learn a lot from his father.
- Zatkoff has been tested a bit, mostly long shots. Terrific rebound control, just awesome. Moves well, looks composed, confident and ready to go. Might prove to be NHL-backup worthy this season. Lehner (the Sens goalie) has been brilliant and he's been under siege...my goodness has he been sharp...best player on the rink for either side...
- I like the way the defense has played. Really pushing the Sens to the outside and sticking them in the corner and stealing the puck and moving forward effectively.
EDIT: Found link on non-sanctioned site, so I can't be of much help there - legally. I'm sitting right in front though...or is it the initial stroke of this weekend's crew team competition...