for me, this was the best game of the season thusfar, and not only cause i had some of my favorite hockey-loving people over to watch it... ;)
it is starting to look like brent sutter might just have something with his particular brand of hard-battling practices... let's face it: jarome iginla wasn't doing so well this season until a mystery teammate blackened his eye a week and a half ago, and now our captain's in almost-vintage form. sure he's never been a quick starter and the shiner coincided with november, but we should still credit that confidential flame for knocking iggy back into gear (via his FACE). ;)
speaking of credit, it's probably way too early to say for sure but i really want to give some props to jamie mclennan for at least HELPING to get kippy's game to where it is, currently. i can't even imagine what noodles offers miikka in the way of tips, other than poring over video and pointing out tendencies & the like, but perhaps it's just the easy climate in goalieville that's working.... and i don't know if you guys noticed but that was quite the long pass that kipper shot last night; from behind his net to halak's trapezoid.... SOMEONE's teaching him these turco-like moves !!! plus, if anyone's the authority on how to take out opponents with your stick, or the best way to spend the last shift of your career, then we've definitely got the right goaltending coach.... not to mention that the habs' netminding world is crumbling under david marcoux....
over on the blueline, credit is due to SOMEBODY for getting dion back to being a halfway decent defenseman and i'd like to give it up to ryan mcgill. i liked him from the get-go when i saw him running drills in rookie camp (meticulous and patient, but insistant on accuracy). phaneuf was an absolute MANIAC last night, laying out hits like he was getting paid per inch of opponent air.... some really nice, hard, clean collisions that prompted comments in the gamethread of M&G like "wow. phaneuf says hi," and "who pissed off dion tonight.... jesus." he and regehr are solidifying, to be sure, and gio and pardy are looking miiiiighty steady out there. other than sarich being hot and cold (and the fact that jaybouw should probably get the credit for just being awesome straight up), the D is starting to look like it should: among the league's best.
as for my favorite blueliner, i'm not sure why nobody mentioned that gio was on after hours last week, even though i'm pretty sure everyone knew i was in missouri... you can watch it here if you're so inclined... the mark giordano drinking game: do a shot every time he says "great experience." speaking of gio, while watching that video i was reminded of an email thread between me and randy sportak in june of 2008 after #5's sojurn with moscow dynamo. even though i was heralding gio's talents way back then, sportak offered some "wisdom" that reads pretty funny nowadays:
"My point is this, Giordano is a 5/6 d-man who struggles in his own
zone, has OK offensive skills and is a good enough skater to sometimes
make up for his positional flaws. It'll take a big step for him to be
a regular in the top-4, although he's very good for the second PP
"People have actually emailed me saying he'd fit in well with Phaneuf
on a full-time basis — seriously. What do you think their plus-minus
would be? I'm thinking a good golf score.
"Also, fans complain the Flames have too man guys on one-way deals,
meaning far too little actual competition and opportunity for young
players to make the jump. Yet, figure Sutter should have given a depth
defenceman who was a press box regular a one-way deal and guarantee
he'd be playing in the top six?"
this last line is especially wicked when daz signed anders eriksson's one wayer mere days later.... ugh. they were sure some dark times... and i'd still like to understand how jim playfair has a job with this organization when mcgill is just now undoing all the things that playfair/keenan had done.
credit to daz for making the change.