Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Staal turns it up a notch

CasonBlog in PHX!
Finally getting to see the boys up close Saturday night in Glendale. Section 112, Row U. No netting and no nose bleed. Booo Yah!

Nice bounce back by the boys last night. Eric Staal's post-breakaway goal glare down of Kovalchuk was especially sweet. More than the other guys, Staal seems to take losing and the grandstanding of prima donna Euros personal - and that's good. Staal turned the frustration of the previous game into a fundamental change in the way he approached each shift last night. He's making the transition from flashy playmaker to physical presence. He's already passed Alexi Yashin on his way to Joe Thornton. It's the normal NHL hockey player maturation process accelerated to light speed with Eric.

I keep hearing the key to the 'Canes quick start is that they are just out skating opponents. Last night we still saw speed, but with a touch of mean. Unlike the last few games, they played like they expected to get to the puck first, get the good bounce, and create the next opportunity.

Lots of glow in the message boards today for AWard. I left a post about the pick he set to take two Thrash defenders out of the picture on the Kaberle goal. He also took a wicked slapper to the chest from Kovalchuk, and stayed out for the subsequent face-off. He's just been a rock on D. Aaron's playing smart, clean and with a great sense of timing on his hits (I hope Mikey C is taking notes). He's also blocking shots like he's got Ian Laperriere's face.


d-lee said...

Yeah... I loved the glaredown. And I love that Staalsy had the maturity to refrain from showboating in their building. Although it would be fun to see a Staal-Kovalchuk rivalry, I'd prefer to see it be about who can perform better on the ice than who can piss the furhest.

You can rest assured that Mikey C is taking notes from Aaron Ward. Actually, I think, and I've said lots of times before that Commodore is playing the best hockey of his career right now. He's been one of my favorite players thus far.

CasonBlog said...

I've always been a big Glen Wesley fan, but he looked awful old and slow vs. the Thrash.