I had a bad dream early this morning. Nothing serious, just something involving a vicious baby alligator that I was trying to fend off with a hose. It startled me awake, and I flipped on NHL Network just in time to catch a replay of yesterday's exhibition between the Pens and Blue Jackets. A few observations for you to consider when CBS cuts to commercial 83 times during the Steeler game:
- There's been some hype this off-season about defenseman Simon Despres, Pittsburgh's 2009 first round pick. I can see why. He clearly needs seasoning, but he already has something most NHL defensemen don't: the ability to get a quick wrist shot on net from long range with some mustard on it. He did that a couple of times in the first period alone. Looks like he has a lightning release.
- From the limited look I had this morning, I don't think Eric Tangradi makes this team out of camp. He should only play in Pittsburgh if he can play significant minutes, and I don't see it. Tangradi still has some baby giraffe tendencies - he's awkward at times and hasn't yet grown into his frame. He took a lazy hooking penalty in the offensive zone because he wasn't moving his feet at all. That's going to be the key to a big man like him being an impact player at this level.
Malkin and Letang throw down and "CW" cuts away, after the jump...
- The game was filled with fights, and three of them involved Kris Letang and Geno Malkin, which is generally to be discouraged so as to protect their golden hands, but isn't altogether surprising. It's the preseason, and at the end of the day, no one cares if these guys spend five minutes in the box. Corey Potter needs some work on the penalty kill anyway.
- When some scrub hacks Letang in front of the net or Rick Nash takes a run at Malkin in the neutral zone during the preseason, they have no real incentive NOT to let their emotions get the best of them. But I think something else is going on here, particularly with Letang. He took a lot of abuse last year; as an under-sized but physical defenseman, he was an easy target. I think he's letting the league know he'll give as good as he gets this year, and man did he deliver the message to Jacob Voracek.
- In an ongoing effort to discourage an actual professional broadcast of NHL games, the Penguins yesterday brought you this contest courtesy of the "CW." FSN Pittsburgh was awful, but appears to have nothing on the "CW." During the numerous fights that were easily the most interesting part of the game, the "CW" cut away repeatedly to lingering shots of Dan Bylsma and the team watching the fights from the bench and fans watching the fights from the stands. Not sure what the thinking was there "CW," but that is not great television.
- Where is Dan Potash and what has Bob Pompeani done with him?
- What a shot by Pascal Dupuis. My tongue isn't even in my cheek, I swear.
- That's all for now. Big GTOG board meeting today. Why? We're planning our mega-NHL preview. Stay tuned.