First off, it was fantastic just to set foot in Phillips again. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the gigantic beers from Gorin's in the CNN Center...all so magical.
And now to the game itself:
1. Yeah, it sucks we lost. But there are a few things to be happy about.
2. For instance, you can tell an instant difference between John Anderson's system of play and the old ones the Thrash have used. The style really is much more aggressive: the defensemen are taking bigger, longer shots; there really is a smaller gap between our D and our forwards; the game is high-octane, fast, and, uh, fast.
3. Toby Enstrom is more physical this year. Or at least that's how he seemed last night. He threw his smallish frame around quite a lot, and he even threw himself down on the ice in the neutral zone to block a Red Wings pass.
4. Our passing is crisper. We just need to make sure our passes don't get intercepted by rogue elements.
5. Erik Christensen is my new favorite player. His goal last night (our only one, sadly) was a thing of beauty. We've heard about Crusher's excellent hands and fancy stick-work in the past; last night he showed us what that was all about. Beautiful goal. Another Christensen note: he likes to plant himself in front of the net and wait for a pass from the Czar or Jason Williams. So maybe Kovy will be centering Crusher from the wing. Unconventional. We like it.
6. Zach Bogosian=all business. He had a few shaky moments last night, but most of the time I was thrilled with his play. He has a hard shot, he's solid in his own zone, and he's physical. I'm not worried that he's grossly under-prepared for the NHL. The dude is a lot bigger than quite a few of the other players: Enstrom and Hainsey, for instance. I think he's ready. And all business.
7. Kari was solid. Two of the Red Wings' goals were more or less empty-netters. Also, he seems to have dyed his hair jet black.
8. The Czar is still the Czar. Even though he didn't score a goal last night, he put on a show: at one point he fineagled his way past two Red Wings defensemen with crazy finesse and basically set himself up for a one-timer. Yes, set HIMSELF up. That's why he's the Czar.
9. Whatever happens this year, the games are going to be ten billion times more fun to watch.
10. Jimmy Slates can fight! And Chris Thorburn is alive!
11. I hate Chris Osgood. Never seen such a cowardly, "ooh I'm afraid I'm about to be scored on, let me dislodge the goal and cry" excuse for a goal-tender. Total joke.