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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good News Bad News

A point in the home opener but a shootout loss. Oh well. The Bruins played pretty well and Thomas came up with big saves several times, but the Pens goalie played a great game and could only be beaten once, by Kessel. Bergeron continues to get great chances but he has been snakebitten. My guess is that when one does go in, the dam breaks and he gets a bunch. The Bruins played very solidily all game, with every line looking good in spots, but no domination. But remember that was against a Stanley Cup finalist, minus Mr. Hossa of course, but still a potent team. Their injury to Gonchar takes a lot off the top though. People are dumping on Wheeler, who might have set folks' expectations too high by scoring in the first game. Brick said it right though: in the third period he praised that line for playing a good shift and getting the shift's final line change in the Pen's zone, setting up the first line for a good shift (they muffed it, but...). I remember Steve Hienze when he was a third liner saying to me "My job was not to hurt the team." This was just before he started scoring a ton, and we were talking about how his role had changed. My point is that for a rookie like Wheeler, his job #1 is to skate his shift and get acclimated to the NHL without hurting the team. He is not expected to carry the team like a Crosby was, and he is not expected to be a one-man wrecking crew like Lucic was last year. So I am willing to wait, and by all appearances, so is Claude Julien.

Buffalo next, and I assume we will see Manny, continuing the rotation. That puts Thomas in against Toronto, and Manny against Atlanta. That's fine with me.

Another guy who gets crap is Shane Hnidy, but I thought he played just fine last night. In fact the entire defense had a good defensive night - no huge costly gaffes. The attack was very good, lots of chances, just that Sabourin played very well in the Pens net. Some weak work on the Bruins shootout though.

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