Saturday, October 9, 2010
Game Day Again Already: Bolts
After an emotional battle with the Washington Capitals on opening night at Philips Arena, the Thrashers travel to Tampa to take on the Lightning in the first regular season game of the Steve Yzerman era on the bay.
Ondrej Pavelec will presumably not travel with the team as he was kept overnight at the hospital for observation. Reports state that Pavs regained consciousness and was alert and asking about the score of the game. I can tell you that it was a great feeling to hear that announcement last night in the final minute of play.
For anyone who doesn't know yet, just two and a half minutes into the game last night, Ondrej Pavelec motioned to the bench that he needed to come out, then collapsed, falling backwards and bouncing his head off the ice. Goalie masks offer very little protection on the back of the skull, with only a thin piece of plastic and one or two pads that are more for keeping the mask from slipping than protecting from impact. Trainers and physicians from both benches rushed to Pavelec's aid and he was taken from the ice on a stretcher and transported to the hospital. It was a scary sight with Pavs motionless on the ice after collapsing well away from the play.
After a few minutes of understandably distracted play, the team rallied starting with Evander Kane's solo effort to intercept a Capitals clearing pass then drive to the net and score low to the stick side. The team played well in all aspects last night, moving the puck confidently and making good breakout passes, crashing the net, and sustaining pressure in the Caps zone. Alex Ovechkin earned an assist on a very nice pass in the third period to bring the Caps to within one point, but was shut down and frustrated most of the night through strong physical team defense.
Tonight will be a different test. The Bolts spent the Summer retooling much like Atlanta did. Dan Ellis should be in net [EDIT- Now hearing that Mike Smith is back and will get the start tonight], Vinny Lecavalier will be looking for a comeback year after a disappointing campaign in 09-10, and Steven Stamkos will be trying to build on a sophomore year where he not only didn't slump, but he earned a share of the Richard Trophy. Oh, and there's that Pavel Kubina guy on the blueline.
I missed the introduction video last night, but have since been able to view it on the Thrashers website. Have to say I am a fan of the movie trailer style intro and the overall spirit of the thing. It's interesting to note who they decided to showcase and who got left out. Toby, Johnny Oduya, Byfuglien, Ladd, the Pevs Dispenser, Mason, and Bogosian. No Antropov, no Bergfors, no Hainsey, no Pavelec. They didn't have time in this little video to show everybody, and I can't argue with any of the ones they chose. Just curious.
Oh, and how about those Braves! Bobby Cox gets ejected for arguing a blown call against the same ump who blew the call that cost the Braves game 1.