In freaking shootout....
I really felt we were going to win tonight. Even though we were outshot, they out-played Phoenix for most of the game tonight.
The refereeing absolutely sucked. We should've had a myriad of powerplays tonight and actually looked pretty good on it when we had them. Disgraceful. Cogliano's "major" was just the beginning. That was never 5 minutes for boarding...what a joke.
It is true we played fairly weakly in the third period, but we still had enough chances to win. Whitney was excellent for PHX. He made a play on Eberle at the end of OT that saved the game by lifting #14's stick. Beauty defensive backcheck. We'd been in an OT groove and should've won. Several posts as well, which was a problem.
- Aside from the fact that he got beat the same way 3 times in the shootout, which is rather bad, he looked fairly solid. In particular he played the puck reasonably well and much better than Khabibulin. The third PHX goal was clearly on Whitney and Horcoff as well as narrowly not averted by Gilbert. Korpikoski's goal he didn't really have a chance. It's possible he could have stopped #2, though it was a good shot. Outside of the shootout, he basically did his job tonight.
- In the overtime period, Belle's play was stupendous. 4-on-4 his skating shines through wonderfully. He also showed enough instinct to skate to the front of the net which unfortunately Hemsky couldn't work into a goal. Belle also got a nice shot on net on a wide drive. The rest of his game was pretty plain, but so far he looks very good compared to his competition. He's not experiencing any of the nervousness that we were supposed to be seeing. This is great. We may have a late blooming gem by next year. That's the optimism in me, but we'll see.
- Had his moments. He managed to avoid the bad pinch tonight which, which is good. I still didn't think his play along the boards was particularly good, and he gave the puck away as usual. He was far above Strudwick-level tonight though, which is enough.
- Got shots away but none were particularly good. Thankfully he had no major defensive screwups. Didn't see him doing much else.
- The struggles continue; partially because he's trying to be physical and can't. He needs to play with a strong stick and good positioning; unfortunately when you're a bad hitter this throws your positioning out of whack. Not Jacques-out-of-whack, but still out of it. He made an utterly horrible play to create a PHX scoring chance in the first and had to make the long march to the bench. Couldn't have been fun. He played a support role to Whitney all night and did just okay. He's better than okay and sure isn't playing like it.
- So, we've found the magic move. Whitney gets the puck to Hemsky. He was an excellent puck distributor tonight and facilitated many of Hemsky's rushes. Defensively he was pretty decent actually. This was hopefully a recovery game for Whitney and the Whitney-Gilbert pair overall. Unfortunately this was somewhat ruined by their bad play on the tying goal. Great pass on Penner's goal.
- More solid play from him. Fought hard for the puck in the corners and won a decent amount of battles. He was also in PHX's face every time any sort of scrum started. He's going to be excellent for us for many years and is much better with the puck than a guy like Matt Greene, which hopefully will help us when we're finally a good team again.
- Congrats bonehead! You nearly killed a teammate. His hit on Stortini was certainly a low moment but he didn't do anything else either. I didn't seem him for the end of the third but wasn't sure whether he'd left the bench or not. The fact that he took away icetime from #91 tonight disgusts me. He helps us win in absolutely no way. He didn't even take the hits he had lined up half the time.
- I really didn't notice him aside from getting in the middle of a scrum and taking one decent shot in the first period. He's really the invisible man.
- Has lost all of preseason momentum officially at this stage. Even his skating looked pretty weak tonight and that's been a strong point even in his not so great games. I think we broke him; which is too bad. I had hope he'd be doing what Ryan Jones is right now but better because he's smarter.
- Again, pretty invisible tonight. I imagine most of this was because of the Cogliano booting but I'm not totally sure. Good enough to anger Phoenix on a couple of occasions but not really enough to make a positive difference unfortunately.
- Yeah, not a major. Not at all. Brutal call. Barely even a major.
- Had maybe 5 moments tonight where he really looked in control of the game. He didn't however get any productive shots off really, but did make a nice play on his goal I suppose. The puck slipped off his stick far too many times tonight.
- Why is he still in the shootout? He should really yank himself out of the shootout because he's just not going to score again. He's also still taking his goofy slapshot that goes over the net most of the time. Luckily he didn't try to carry the puck through the neutral zone too much; that is where he usually fails when playing with Hemsky.
- Utterly sublime effort from him tonight. If you watch the highlights, half of them are him taking the puck from Whitney then streaking through the PHX defenders. He went into odd man situations and was almost always productive. This is the kind of game he can play when he's really firing. If any of his linemates had been going too, he would've had 5 or 6 points tonight. He was that good. His goal was an excellent SH read and a solid finish that looked like something of an optical illusion. Great pass to start the Penner goal. There are very few guys in the league who can do what he did tonight. So much fun. *random note* he always plays his best when I don't wear my Hemsky jersey; it's weird.
- Cannot do anything 5-on-5 because he can't beat anyone 1-on-1 and doesn't skate properly to put himself in a position of advantage. It's very disappointing. 4-on-4 or on the PP he's doing okay, but he needs to be used in a more dedicated way. I suppose he supports Horcoff and Eberle okay. I'm waiting to be blown away again. He made an interesting move between the legs in the first, but I'm still trying to figure whether it actually did anything for him.
- Solid goal due to solid positioning. I didn't mind him much tonight. His shootout "move" was rather pathetic. I still don't understand why people shoot five hole without moving drastically from side to side.
- Played very well as per usual. Loved the way he kept the puck away from the PHX defenders who were rather aggressive on him. Probably had an SH goal taken away by the linesman getting in his way as that was a very dangerous looking odd-man rush. Made some phenomenal passes. Play him with Hemsky and Penner just for kicks.
Another loss...this one more painful than the others because it was close. We shoulda won tonight. BLECH. Not the way to start a weekend.