Friday, October 28, 2016

All Together Now!

Before the start of the season, the Anaheim Ducks were without Rickard Rakell and Hamphus Lindholm, both of whom were still unsigned as they were awaiting their new contracts while under the restricted free-agency tag. Given the Ducks' salary cap problems, namely that they are up against it, it was thought that the Ducks could lose one or both players.

Somehow, the Ducks managed to get both signed to long-term deals, as Rakell was the first to come off a few days ago. Yesterday, Lindholm followed suit and is now under the Ducks' control for six more years. So, what move or moves could the Ducks make to get under the cap? Simon Despres is headed to long-term IR, meaning his cap hit won't count until he's ready, whenever that may be, as concussion issues are what's sidelining him at the moment. Also, to make room for both players, Shea Theodore and Emerson Etem were sent down, and while it is still possible that Theodore could be called up again, the likely casualty would be Clayton Stoner. As for the newly signed players, their contributions will be welcomed by a team that has begun slowly, yet is just now finding their way with a recent stretch that has seen them win three in a row.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mavericks Report: Nothing like Home Cookin'

The road so far hasn't been kind to the Missouri Mavericks two weeks into the season, and never was that better illustrated than this past weekend, when the Mavericks were dropped 4-1 Friday by the Wichita Thunder and their home opener the following evening, where they had better success against the Indy Fuel in a 2-1 win.

The Mavericks will need to find some spark on the road, as the schedule takes them to Quad City on Wednesday before two games in Brampton, ON on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mavericks Report: Stumbling out of the Gate

The Mavericks Report is back, although much like my laptop charger decided to take a dump over the weekend, so too did the Mavericks. In their season opening weekend in Allen, TX, the Mavericks picked up where they left off. Unfortunately, the last anyone saw of the Mavericks, they were getting kicked out of the playoffs by the Americans, who would go on to win the Kelly Cup. The Mavericks were never truly in the first game despite two goals from Radolslav Illo and a goal from Dane Fox, as the Mavs fell 6-3 on Saturday. Sunday wasn't much better, as the Mavs couldn't muster a goal in a 4-0 loss to the same Allen Americans.

The Mavericks play tomorrow at Wichita before coming home to open that portion of the schedule against the Indy Fuel.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I Watched This Game: The Auston Matthews Edition

"I Watched This Game" makes a return this season, and what a better way to kick it off than the NHL debut of the 2016 first overall pick Auston Matthews. The Toronto Maple Leafs traveled to Ottawa to take on provincial rival Senators, and it was certainly an entertaining game.

The highlights, as written from the Senators fan perspective, since I opted for the 2006 red Senators sweater and ended up getting paired with a couple of Maple Leafs fans in a sea of Blues and Blackhawks fans.

  • The Sens' intro was pretty creepy, as the players' faces were on the back screen as they were being introduced one-by-one.
  • That didn't take long, as Matthews scored his first goal on a nice behind the goal pass by Zach Hyman found Matthews in front, and he didn't miss.
  • The Sens tie it up after Erik Karlsson's shot gets knocked down by Bobby Ryan in front, who finds the puck quickly and deposits it past Frederik Andersen. If the Sens can get 30 goals from Ryan, they will finally be getting the player that they thought they were getting.
  • The Sens take the lead on a laser from the blue line by Karlsson. In case you forgot, he was the team's leading scorer for a reason.
  • Matthews scores number two on a nice drive to the net after pick-pocketing a Sens player in the neutral zone.
  • DAMN YOU, AUSTON MATTHEWS! A hat trick in the second period puts the Leafs back up by one.
  • Derick Brassard ties things back up after another Leafs relapse defensively. Remember this, as it will be important later.
  • DAMN YOU, AUSTON MATTHEWS...AGAIN! A give and go with William Nylander sees Matthews put the Leafs back up by one.
  • Kyle Turris sends the game to overtime as he scores, and in the process, is showing that the injury issues of last season are behind him.
  • Turris scores the game winner in overtime after Matthews fails to cover Turris in time.
The Leafs-Sens match-up was nothing short of exciting on both ends. While Matthews was a dynamic force offensively, he also has a few things to clean up before he can be the player he wants to be, though he did own up to the mistake in overtime that sent the Leafs home with just the one point. Also, you do have to play defense, and the Leafs far too often, had some trouble with that, as for every goal they scored, the Senators had an answer. Similarly, the same could be said for the Sens, though Craig Anderson did bail them out a handful of times, stopping Mitch Marner on a shot.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

I Watched This Game: Pre-season Special

The NHL regular season begins in six days, and with players still fighting for roster spots, that means hockey games sometimes take place in cities where there isn't an NHL team. Case in point: yesterday in Kansas City, where the St. Louis Blues took on the Washington Capitals. Naturally, the Blues playing here makes sense, since the Blues recently struck an agreement to partner with the ECHL's Missouri Mavericks, thereby making the Mavericks not only an affiliate of the Islanders, but also the Blues. Rather than give a blow-by-blow account of the game, I'll just put in the observations of the game.

  • Seemingly, it was youth music night, as the intermission band was a Metallica tribute band called Hammerhedd, which consists of three youths. For being kids, they handled the material quite well, especially since it was mostly from the 80's portion of the discography. Also, the National Anthem was performed on guitar by a 13-year old. Again, no complaints here, as he did quite well.
  • The Capitals dominated the shots on goal, and the results showed, as they won 4-2.
  • I know it's preseason, but there were opportunities to shoot that Vladimir Tarasenko passed up on.
  • The Sprint Center was a hazardous place, as a fan was forced to leave after taking a errant puck to the head while a referee skated off on his own power after getting his legs taken out by a falling Tarasenko.
  • The Blues still have work to do, and clearly, not having that physical presence that David Backes provided will take a toll at some point during the season.
  • Christian Thomas is making a case to stick with the Capitals after a two-goal night. Meanwhile, Jay Beagle and Daniel Winnik put up three point nights each.
  • Braden Holtby wasn't in net. No matter, as Phillip Grubauer had a fairly easy night in goal, as the Blues couldn't muster many shots during the game.
  • Attendance for the game was comparable to a Blues game and would have been more than a few other teams in the NHL.
Those were the views picked up from the game, and I will see you on Wednesday for Opening Night.