Alright, I know we told you not to read too much into the empirical results of last night's pre-season opener between the Blackhawks and Lightning, and we're going to try to avoid that pitfall here. But that doesn't mean that there weren't some things to be taken away from last night. Here are some of those things.
- After all the hype coming into the game, Igor Makarov at least didn't look out of place for the most part. He put himself in a more than a few prime scoring chances during the opening period, and looked like an adult during the first power play. However, from that point after, I have to say I was expecting to notice him a bit more, but the steady stream of Hawk penalties likely kept him from seeing more ice, as it doesn't seem Quenneville is considering him much for PK duty.
- Speaking of the PK, Jack Skille looks like he might be useful in that role, as he showed some good positioning and even led a short handed rush going the other way against a Tampa power play unit that was stuffed to the tits with regulars.
- Also related to penalty killing, Fernando Pisani looked solid out there, and he certainly wasn't lacking opportunities both short handed and at even strength, though that may have been a function of consistently seeing the ice with Patrick Sharp, who was the best Hawk last night by a pretty sizeable margin. Coach Q may have found his new blankie now that Sopel is gone.
- Viktor Stalberg was underwhelming, though admittedly the puck didn't find him much. When it did, he was robbed blind by the suddenly impregnable Cedrick Desjardins. And please for the love of god don't make him take any more draws. Evan Brophey, I'm looking in your direction. Brophey was seemingly tossed from every faceoff he was supposed to participate in.
Jeremy Morin was all over the place last night, in a good way. One thing I was impressed by was his ability to create his own shot, which he did deftly on a couple of occasions in the second period- once cutting to the middle of the ice from the left wing on a rush, and the other walking out from the right corner.
Nick Boynton is still a meat bag. And while that was an instigator from Blair Jones, Boynton did stick his leg out on that attempted hip check in neutral ice that preceded the fight, which could have been a nasty knee-on-knee hit. Boynton is also apparently going to get a pee-pee slap for his Harry Connick Jr. in Copycat impersonation after the fight.
- It's weird to see Simon Gagne in a Lightning sweater
- Nick Leddy looked good in the offensive zone, and didn't commit any hate crimes against my hockey sensibilities in the defensive zone, which is about all you can hope for in a 19-year old offensively-inclined defenseman in his first action ever against grown ass men (yes, despite his height, I'm including Martin St. Louis in that set). On the other hand...
- It's somewhat comforting to know that with all that's happened since we last saw him in a Hawks sweater and all the roster upheaval, Jassen Cullimore hasn't changed a bit.
- Oh, and Marty Turco looked fine. He got bailed out by a couple of posts, but looked athletic and comfortable out there, particularly moving the puck. And if Brian Connolly can figure out what is possible in getting breakout passes from Turco, imagine the possibilities with Duncan Keith and Brian Campbell
I think a sufficient mountain has been made out of this molehill, and we'll have even more to talk about once we finally get to see the ravenous-timber-wolf-on-angel-dust Kyle Beach against pro competition this weekend.