September 09, 2006

A New Season Begins!

Welcome back everyone. Hope you had a good summer. Mine was pretty busy – didn’t golf nearly as much as I had hoped to and far worse than I thought I should. We spent three weeks in Austria at the same time that the U-18 tournament was going on in the Czech Republic. We entertained thoughts of getting to a game or two but couldn’t get organized. Would have been fun.

Sid and StatsGuy invited me back to do the game summaries this year so, unless there is a strong flashback from the readership out there, I will try to take it on this year.

Tonight was the first pre-game of the season. I didn’t take any notes – need to get my ice-eyes back and get used to the new guys. So this summary is based entirely on my (not photographic) memory and a couple of fairly indecipherable notes scratched on the roster that was handed out at the game.

The Belleville Bulls came to town to help start the season. Good thing it was only a pre-season game. The good news is that there’s lots of room for improvement. The bad news is that some of the vets will need to do some of the more serious improving. Lotta rust out there.

Both teams had some of their strongest guys out of the line up for one reason or another. Most of the guys were guys away and NHL camps. Logan Couture did not dress tonight presumably to keep healing. For those of you who may not know, Logan was injured in preparation for the U-18 tourny. I couldn’t find an article directly about the injury but here’s a link that makes reference to it: [link]. Jamie McGinn didn’t dress nor did he go to the Shark’s camp. Apparently in Tuesday’s practice he had a collision with a line mate and ended up with a concussion. The doc said he couldn’t fly so he’s grounded here in Ottawa. Gotta feel for the kid – he must have been really looking forward to the NHL team camp. Derek Joslin is at the St. Jose camp. Jakub Vojta is a Carolina draftee but he played tonight. Perhaps their camp starts later. And Joe Grimaldi has gone to the Islander’s camp (not sure making this team would be a good thing!).

For the Bulls, we didn’t see Matt Belesky (Anaheim), Shawn Matthias (Detroit) nor Levin Lalande (Calgary). Or at least I don’t think we saw some of these guys. I didn’t do a roll call. I know for sure that Lalande didn’t hit the ice tonight.

Our starting lineup was Sean Ryan and Elgin Reid on D, Alphonso and Kewin as forwards and Liscomb at centre. Brady Morrison started in net.

Overall, Belleville outplayed Ottawa from pretty much start to finish. There were a few moments of promise from the barber poles but they were generally few and far apart. Well, perhaps the there were more of these moments in the third period but by then it was pretty much a done deal. It seemed that Belleville’s passing was better, their break out was better and they generally were seeing the ice better than our team. In the first period, Ottawa spent a lot of time in front of their own net and the few times they got out, they needed to dump the puck so they could do a line change. Don’t really score a lot that way.

I was hoping there would be a score sheet tonight so I didn’t take any notes but if memory serves me correctly Belleville scored an even handed goal, a short-handed goal and a powerplay goal all in the first period. The short handed goal was from a bad bad misplay by Elgin Reid on the point. He missed the pass and the Belleville player got the puck behind him and made the goal on Morrison.

Ottawa finally got on the score board in the second period when rookie Matt Ribeiro got one past the Bull’s rookie goalie Edward Pasquale. That would stand as the lone Ottawa goal for the night.

Half way through the second period and right after the goal, Coach sent in our new goalie Lukas Flueler. If you’ve been following any of the training camp threads on the 67s site you will know that he’s not a tiny lad. In fact he seems to fill the net quite nicely. He made a few good saves but finally the Bulls got one past him. It was a nice goal even if it was for the other guys.

The 67s had a whole lotta powerplay opportunities but they could not convert any of them. They even managed to squander a couple of 5-on-3 opportunities. Their PP was pretty lousy. Generally speaking, the 67s didn’t get caught making too many infractions but of those that they made, Shea Kewin was the leading offender with at least three if I recall correctly.

The team did seem to play better in front of their net which is good. But it would be better if they didn’t spend so much time in front of their own net. Elgin Reid did not have a good night at all. Killer was noted saying that they will have to depend on their defense while the forward lines mature. If one were to judge solely from tonight’s game, we will really need to count on our goalies. And our crazy-8s line. Yikes!

The rookies did pretty well by my reckoning. I thought Mike Ribeiro had a good night. Tyler Cuma looked pretty raw but seemed to keep his feet moving. I was less impressed with many of our more senior returnees.

It was announced that attendance was 4250. The arena looked reasonably occupied for the first pre-season game of the year that fell on a rather nice day (sever thunderstorm notwithstanding). We’re all working out the kinks of getting back into hockey mode and we can all look forward to improvements to our team and our own participation as fans.

There’s another home pre-season game next Friday, the ticket pickup for season ticket holders on the 25th and the home game opener on the 29th. Thus begins this year’s dream (hallucination??) for junior hockey greatness. Hope you stick with us and the team for the ride!


1 comment:

Sid said...

Hard to believe another year is starting ... and it looks like it's going to be an interesting one! :)

Good to see ya back Blitzen!

I've tidied up the sidebar (finally!) and will look for some more interesting things to add as we get going.