Just got back from the Pack vs Albany Devils game. Devils got the best of us in a shootout, but that's not the least of our problems. Here's a couple thoughts below.
Zukes looks GREAT! He's all over the ice, he seems a step faster then the herd out there, and best of all he's going out of his way to show his size won't be a problem. It seemed like everytime there was a scrum, this kid was in the middle. Something tells me he and Aves might have been having dinner together.
Best defenseman on the Pack was .... WADE REDDON. He was contributing on offense, had a nice goal, just inside the post, and most of all was getting back and breaking up odd man rushes without breaking a sweat.. Tank wasn't nearly as physical as he played in pre-season, and McDoungah was almost invisible. They also have McD playing the off-side down there, something i didn't get, with the need for lefty's on the big squad.
Chad Johnson, something changed. When I saw CJ this time last year, he was UNCONSCIOUS. Just like Hank. Getting pads out of nowhere to make saves. Good positioning, but instincts kicking in when the positioning failed. Tonight he looked like he was trying too hard to play smart, and not playing HIS game. I dont know what it is, but something seemed off.
Grachev - I'd say he was invisible, but he BLISTERED a shot off the post in the shootout that silenced BOTH sets of fans in attendance. Outside of that though, you didn't see any flashes of brillance during the game. I was disapointed. That shot was too much to walk away from though. I think Grachev might be a good candidate to call up to help with injuries. Throw him in the deep end and see what it's gonna take to make him swim. There's too much raw skill to want to walk away from, but we've gotta get it out of him. Also, I was a bit disturbed he was wearing #91 tonight. Seems a bit high for a guy with NHL aspirations.
Tim Kennedy. He hustles, missed some OPEN nets, and bounces off guys when they're not DRILLING him. Honestly looked like an AHL vet at best. Don't cry too many tears about what could have been with him.
Funny Side Notes - There was a group of us who went, so we were supposed to be acknowledged on the PA. Our group name was supposed to be "Friends of Marty's Brother". The kid who sold me the tix was clueless, but someone must have caught on, cause that announcement was nixed. Also, there mascot is "Devil Dawg". He's a fat red dog, and thought it would be a good idea to mess with us, since we were in Rangers jersey's (as was 40% of the crowd). My reply was, "Who are you supposed to be, Marty's Jaw?"
I know this is one game, but since we don't get to see the kids in action much, thought I'd pass my assesment on. Perhaps fire up a little discussion, since it looks like were going to be seeing a few of them.