Player Performances: Game #5 of Pre-Season

Due to the fact everyone wants a piece of me (as if), I haven’t been around to write-up the past 2 pre-season games. By a twist of fate, I was able to watch  Pre-Season game #4….. Good game. Good game. Although the record of the pre-season doesn’t matter, the performances of the players can very well be. It can show early signs of struggles, or by contrast, early signs of confidence leading to success. Whatever the case may be, these games are more important than some may expect them to be. I noted the performances of most of the players tonight, but not all. If I didn’t mention a player, it is most likely because I didn’t notice them enough to do so. If you saw something I didn’t, or disagree with what I said, let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Desharnais: For the most part, I truly believe Desharnais played better than he has in a long, long time. Despite his very small frame, DD used the advice, (or shall we say “threats”), Therrien gave him. He would follow the puck into the dirty areas, such as in the corners and crashing the net….(I know. I know. Weird). In the 1st period, he screened Brodeur while Markov flung the biscuit (a word Bobby Hull once told me) towards the net, almost leading to a goal. A number of minutes later, into the 2nd period on the powerplay, he did the same thing, leading to a goal for Pacioretty. That was in large part due to Desharnais. No joke. I swear. He also would time-to-time carry the puck up very effectively, keeping the puck on his stick. That said, as his Pseudonym of “Mister-carry-the-puck-to-the-opposing-blue-line-and-lose-it” states….well….you catch my drift.

Tinordi: I hate to make this a reoccurring theme (3 times now), but golly (in Goofy’s voice), do I dislike when Tinordi carries the puck. This Earth has dictated that a 6’6 defender should not carry the puck. Don’t blame me, blame mother nature. If he can A) stop or B) get better at it, that would be super-awesome. But let me be real here, I absolutely love Tinordi, and I’ll tell you why. His defensive skills are just beautiful. He plays the way Leaf fans think Phaneuf plays (oh snap). Tinordi showed pure confidence and patience, making every move in the defensive end, a smart one. He blocked a couple of shots, and best of all, used his enormous reach to stop a clean breakaway. To his benefit on offence, one shot he took, led directly to a goal. It’s irrelevant to bring up he used his body well. It’s said over and over, game after game.

Pacioretty: I can’t tell if Pacioretty improved a ton, or if he was always this good and I just haven’t watched him play in a long time. Nevertheless, he played very well. He, for several games now, has shown great chemistry with linemates Briere and Desharnais….(would you knock it off with that cringe you just did by the lettering of “Desharnais”?). Anyway, one thing I found Pacioretty doing really well and frequently, was his ability to get open for a rebound or a pass, every time leading to a shot on net (once a goal). After 2 periods, he had 7 of the 17 total shots. He also found himself open to grab the puck in the defensive zone, get into a breakaway and score a nice shorthanded, backhanded goal. If he plays like this, we can see a fairly large increase in his goal count this season.

Gallagher: I’ve never seen a player chase the puck in a more proficient manner than Gallagher. He is the typical player that other teams hate. He drives defensemen (on the other team) nuts. He frustrates them more than a T-Rex trying to make a bed. His agility, speed and gift of being able to stay on the puck leads defensemen to, in more ways than none, give up. Many times this results in him drawing a penalty. He had to be helped to the dressing room as he looked like he was in extreme pain, but like a true warrior as he is, returned to the bench moments after as he turned out to be fine. His 14 million teenage fan-girls…..not so much.

White: White, for the most part remained under the radar, which for him, means he played really well. He was seen blocking some thunderous slapshots while the Habs were on the penalty kill- exactly what his job entails.

Bourque: Bourque was not very obvious either, however, when he was visible, he played quite well. To put it into perspective, I hadn’t seen him play in that manner since before he was injured last season. He used his large frame pretty well, something that we’ve been waiting to see from him. He kepts the puck away from defenders quite effectively, similar to what Pacioretty was doing.

Eller: Eller’s game today, in one word, was “smart”. This may have come from some good training over summer, but most likely, it was due to an older, more mature Eller. He showed some smart, patient passing, getting the puck to either Gally when it was time, or holding onto the puck if that’s what the play called for. He played like a solid two-way centreman, waiting to blossom in potential.

Prust: Prust played like Prust. He used his body to check whenever the opportunity arose, and dropped the gloves with a Devil who indubitably has the funniest fighting stance of all time: Urbom. Again, like White, did his job effectively.

Bournival: I feel terrible for Bournival. If you want to think of the pre-season as a way for rookies to prove themselves, Bournival exemplifies that determination. There is one thing holding him back from a guarenteed roster spot, and that is, that there’s no roster spot left. He has truly proven himself deserving of a spot on the lineup. The inconvenient truth (yes I’m quoting Al Gore), is that he’ll most likely be sent down to the AHL again. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time if I’m wrong. But if he does return to the Bulldogs and remains as consistent in the AHL as he’s been in these pre-season games, he will surely be the first call-up if (noticed I’m not jinxing it) an injury occurs. He deserves more than a pat on the back.

Diaz: Diaz looked rough out there. His “playing good-playing bad” streaks remind me of Rene Bourque’s. He goes through a stretch of games playing great, gets injured, returns, and then plays poorly again. This game, he played quite poorly. He gave the puck up numerous times, and as an offensive defenseman, looked uncomfortable. His pinching would lead to an odd-man rush a few times, to which he wouldn’t hustle back as effortfully as you’d wish from an NHL defender.

Price: Price played fairly well tonight, but to be perfectly honest, he looked shaky. Don’t throw your tomatoes at me just yet (which by the way, is a vegetable. Not a fruit. No scientist in the world will convince me it’s a fruit), it may be because he’s adjusting to a different style of goaltending brought by new goalie coach, Waite. (I’m not a goalie, so I can’t say that with confidence, any goalies out there can feel free to correct me here). His shifting of post to post looked very “iffy” and a bit panicked. That being said, he did make some very nice saves. He didn’t get enough action (no innuendo intended) to truly determine how well he played.

Galchenyuk: I didn’t notice too, too much of Galchenyuk besides the fact that he’s playing in a way I’d like to say, more, “leaderly”. He’s showing enough confidence in his game to pursue the puck, and make something out of it. I didn’t see this from him last season. This may be because of the fact he’s no longer a rookie. Same reason as for why Sophomores in high school & University show a bit more cockiness. Only in hockey, on the ice, in the case of Galchenyuk, it’s a good thing.

Briere: I didn’t see anything wrong with Briere, only upside. He played great with his linemates and, like Eller, would make some very smart, mature plays. He wasn’t rushed, and showed no pressure playing in the Bell Centre. If he plays this season like he’s done in the pre-season, I expect a large increase in points for him and his partners to the left on the ice (hence the reason why I took him in my fantasy).

Subban: I don’t even want to go into details about Subban. It’s the same damn thing. He’s awesome. He’s creative. He’s brilliant. Period.

Moen: He dumped the puck in a few times. I saw that.

 

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Something to add on? Let me know! Thanks!

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