Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Hockey is Back; Preseason Game Review
Some thoughts and opinions on the first Kings-Yotes Preseason Game held at Staples Sept 15th.
Kopitar/Williams/Smythe- Hands down the elite players of the game which is kind of a no brainer. At times watching them move the puck was kind of like playing NHL2009 using the Eastern All Stars against the Italian National Team. Williams, provided he stays healthy, is going to be a great fit with Kopitar. He has speed and 95% of the time makes the correct play/pass/dump in etc etc. Smythe is slow-but his game is that of bull rushing the puck strong to the net not blowing by defenders so its a non factor IMO.
JJ- between him and Doughty the Kings really do have two of the elite young Dmen in the game. His rush up center ice Shorthanded was arguably one of the best plays I have ever witnessed from a Dman preseason game albeit.
Hickey-This was the first time I have ever watched him a true real game if Im not mistaken and everything said about him is true. He is a great skater, with great poise, never looks rattled and has amazing composure for a rookie Dman. There was a move he made coming back on day where he made a pivot from skating front to back and made an swooping arc to find himself in perfect position to play the attack. Im not sure Hickey will ever be a true top 4-but with PP time and select situations should be able to regularly put up 20-30 pts a season. Consider him a Mike Weaver with top notch skills.
Moller-he was invisible in the first 2 periods but along with Purcell came to life in the 3rd. After the first preseason game neither here nor there though.
Lotkionov- I am sure he is a stud but I really didn't see anything tonight. Not saying he sucks or a bust yada yada yada but to me he looked like your prototypical young prospect adapting to the pro game and looking a bit lost....which is to be completely expected at this point.
Schenn-Some of the same points as Lotkionov here but, did notice he is a very strong skater. He made some backward stop and go moves that kept right up with the point man he was covering. I can totally see the solid 2 way player/character/leader scouting reports about him. Having him develop into a young Rob Brindamour type certainly wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
Westgarth-Held his own with the monster who is Mitch Fritz. Fritz got the better hold and pretty much was able to keep out of Range of Westgarths punches. Decision Fritz-but not an ass beating by any stretch.
Teubert- Simply not ready. He pulled the same play tonight he pulled in the rookie game taking a stupid double minor for little reason. He needs to work on his positional play, pick his spots physically, and play with more discipline. You can expect that type of play out of Rich Clune but given expectations and being a high draft pick seeing tons of ice time in the AHL or ECHL is the best thing for him.
Bernier-Not Horrible, Not Fantastic. Looked pretty much like an above average goalie IMO but certainly not in the class that Quick played last season. Be interesting to see what happens as the preseason game progress to see his level of play.
As for the Coyotes-They may very well finish in the bottom 5 but look to be a pretty tough team. Lots of size and pretty adept at the rough game.
All in all pretty much what you would expect for the first preseason game.