POST GAME THOUGHTS - PRESEASON OPENER
- Jeff Carter's new hair color makes him look like Ice Man from "Top Gun"
- Nik Zherdev can really skate and the puck follows him around - too bad he doesn't follow it back into his own zone. Oh... and after a knee-on-knee collision at the end of the first period, he was pretty much MIA.
- Speaking of MIA, did anyone see Bill Guerin? Quiet night for the veteran here on a - ahem - tryout. Hey, I'm rooting for Bill. He's one of only three guys in camp who are actually older than me (Lappy - who only has me beat by 25 days - and Sean O'Donnell are the others... I root for them too). It makes me feel young still when there are guys older than me still playing pro sports. That's why I like guys like Jamie Moyer and Mark Brunell.
- Jeff Carter on the wing is something I'd like to see more. While it might happen here and there, I'm thinking Claude Giroux is the center who will ultimately spend more time on the wing than any other.
- I like Ben Holmstrom's game. He's like a pinball out there - just with much more control. It says something about him that the coaches put him in the lineup with all the veterans as opposed to any other rookie skater. He won't make the roster (barring injuries) out of camp, but he's likely to be atop the call-up list. Look for more on him in the Wednesday edition of the Daily Times or on Delcotimes.com
- Michael Leighton was really good at times, a little shaky at others. In other words, not much has changed since June. Still... with the defense the Flyers are going to put in front of him he will be more than serviceable.
- I was looking for more from Andreas Nodl. He was o.k., but just o.k. I believe he has an NHL future, just like the Flyers' brass, but he's going to need to ramp it up (as he did during his brief playoff stint last season) if he wants to win the last forward spot on the roster.
- Matt Walker and Jody Shelley each got into a scrap with Pierre-Luc Letourneau-LeBlond, or as I call him, PL-cubed. Walker got his butt kicked. Shelley landed some good shots early, but tired out during a lengthy bout, and the fight became a draw by the end.
- Braydon Coburn was really physical - which is how he has to play with his size - he led the team in hits with six - and took a boarding penalty too.
-Oskars Bartulis played 22:50 and was a minus-1. He was inconsistent, winning a couple nice battles (he had three takeaways) but was caught on the ice for some of the Devils best scoring chances. That mediocre play isn't going to cut it if he wants to beat out the ultra-steady O'Donnell or Walker.
-I don't think I even knew Andrej Meszaros was in the lineup. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
- Sergei Bobrovsky wasn't tested much - he faced seven regulation shots and four more in a shootout. Of those, only two stood out - a sliding pad stop from post-to-post on Jamie Langenbrunner and a glove save on Jason Arnott on a breakaway.
More on him in the Holmstrom story - but he does have elite quickness. Arnott got revenge in the shootout - scoring five-hole. None of the shootout saves were anything special - two were shot right into his pads and one missed the net completely. Fine performance, but a limited sample.
- Finally, my first stick-my-neck-out prediction - Danny Briere will have his best season as a Flyer. He looks to be in great shape, he's skating faster than ever, and he's still got a great shot. His goal that tied the game was a seed. If he stays healthy - I can see 35-50-85 from Briere. No lie.