Saturday, October 07, 2006

Black and Gold Report: Lots of Buts

I didn’t witness Wayne Primeau’s goal last night because my Comcastic HD DVR, scheduled to record another show at 10:00 p.m., forced the channel to change from NESN High Def to whatever channel Numbers was on. I love that show about the crime-solving family—and I’ll probably watch it with my dad when he visits Boston in two weeks—but the show’s title forces me now to review the, uh, numbers from the Bruins’ 8–3 loss last night.

Forwards:

• Bergeron: 40% success rate on face-offs, six missed shots, a minus-2 at even strength, but Bergie will get better

• Brad Boyes: Took only one shot, and like his linemate Bergeron, was a minus-2.

• Phil Kessel: Forced the Panthers to take three penalties because of his speed, but he was, like his linemates listed above, a minus-2. Not a disastrous debut. Time will tell how he’ll be able to give and take hits and endure the rigors of the NHL game.

• Marc Savard, 68% on face-offs, nice job of driving to open ice on the B’s first goal, but he attempted an ill-advised cross-ice pass through the neutral zone, which led to a Panther goal.

• Glen Murray: One goal, hustled back on defense—he’s not recognized often enough for his commitment to backchecking—and he didn’t take any penalties. Nice work all-around, Muzz (no ifs ands or buts about it).

• Marco Sturm: One goal, one assist, one penalty, even-steven at even strength.

• Wayne Primeau: One goal, plus-1 at even strength, but he won only 10 of 23 face-offs.

• P.J. Axelsson: Plus-1 at even strength, but the PK unit wasn’t effective for reasons I haven’t been able to decipher.

• Shean Donovan: Demonstrated dogged determination as he rushed up ice along the board—and through the bramble of Panther players—with the puck and into the offensive zone. No goals or points, but I like this fellow’s ferocity.

Defense:

• Zdeno Chara: Had two penalties to match his two giveaways but also had two helpers. He logged nearly 30 minutes of ice-time. This horse is surprisingly nimble and is an agile stickhandler on the offensive blue line.

• Brad Stuart: The PK unit was less than effective, and Stuart was a minus-1 at even strength, but he blocked seven blocked shots.

• Andrew Alberts: Ditto on the PK comments above, and Albert coughed up the puck leading to at least one goal at even strength, but he ended game a plus-1. Alberts is playing with much more confidence this year, and we’ll see positive results more often than not.

Goaltending:

Tough night for Timmy Thomas. Not much he could do on most of goals because his defense left him high and dry, but he can—and will—be better.



Overall, we must expect setbacks at the beginning of the year because despite the optimism about the off-season dealings, only six players who played in last season’s opener were in uniform last night. But, that’s just my opinion...for now.

Gotta go turn on the tube to see the replay of Primeau’s goal and then make sure tonight’s game against the Lightning is not interrupted by other programming.
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