Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Game 1: Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 4

So how does this work?  We lost George Parros to concussion, he'll be out for a while, do we just sign the next available goon, drop him in the roster, so he can neutralize the other team's goon?  I know the Oilers just snapped up Steve MacIntyre, so he's gone, who's the next name on the list?  Do we particularly blood-thirsty fans get our wish and get to see Trevor Gillies in bleu blanc rouge?

And then, when we play the Leafs again, they'll have Frazer McLaren back, and that Mark Fraser kid is even tougher with that steel plate in his forehead, so we better get two more enforcers, just in case.  The Bruins have Sean Thornton and our bugaboos Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic, the Sabres' Steve Ott and Patrick Kaleta will run rampant with John Scott and Cody McCormick on their shoulder, and the Senators have Chris Neil, Matt Kassian and a horde of defencemen over 6'4", one of which goes by the name of Gryba.  Might be a good idea to get a spare enforcer too, in case one of our three enforcers gets injured.  Those guys are going to be busy, protecting Brandon Prust and Travis Moen and Ryan White so they don't have to fight all the time.

Tonight, we won the battles but lost the war.  George Parros did exactly what he was brought here to do, which is cancel out Colton Orr.  George actually won both fights, but during the second got dragged down and landed face first on the ice, knocking him out.  I don't believe this is his first concussion, so his absence could be prolonged.  If I was him, I'd not be in a rush to get back in the lineup, not on my final year on my contract.  I'd make sure I was absolutely completely symptom-free, plus a couple more weeks to be on the safe side, before I even thought of getting back to the grind.  This is a young man's game, and I don't know if George had any designs on playing much longer, it's debatable what he would gain by coming back sooner rather than later.

During that same scrum which precipitated Parros-Orr I (or was is VII or VIII, do we count the previous tilts when they played on different teams?) Jarred Tinordi ended up with Carter Ashton in his arms, and that poor fool dropped his gloves, possibly not having seen exactly who had a hold on him.  Anyway, Mr. Ashton immediately regretted doing so, because he got filled in by Jarred, but this is where the asymmetric warfare angle kicks in.  The Leafs are sure to take offence to this fight, never mind that their kid kind of started it, and next game Jarred will get a visit from a Leafs enforcer, and the violence, instead of being "settled on the ice", instead of being defused by players policing themselves, will escalate.  We should probably get another enforcer to protect Jarred.

Travis Moen played a good game, and stepped up by jumping in when Mark Fraser was running around being a pain.  Last season, whether it was contractitis, as many fans surmised, or the aftereffects of a concussion from the previous season, Travis was more of a diplomat, waiting for the referees to intervene before mixing in and giving opponents a stern talking to.  He'd cruise in to a situation, allowing Ryan White to get there first and barge in.  Tonight, Brandon Prust looked like he was about to go when Travis intervened and took on Mr. Fraser, and gave a very good account of himself, after the seemingly interminable negotiations over the removal of the visored helmets.  Travis killed penalties, had a couple of scoring chances, he was involved, which wasn't always the case last season.

Some are already speculating that Brandon Prust must be playing hurt, which is why Travis jumped in between him and Mark Fraser.  Brandon had to skip the last couple of pre-season games and a practice for a therapy day, so it's reasonable to ask the question.  He did seem more hesitant than usual.  Which effectively leaves us down two enforcers, if Brandon can't go, and with George out of the lineup.

On further thought, let's get one more additional extra spare enforcer off that list, just to be on the safe side.

What's that?  The game?  Oh yeah, the game.  As in who won?  Well, we lost.  Lars Eller had a good one, two goals, one assist, did well on special teams, his line looked good, better than pre-season.  He didn't fight though.  Carey Price stopped 34 of 38 shots, for an .895 save percentage, not good enough.  He didn't fight either.  The Desharnais line and Plekanec line didn't fight none of them, not a one.  Andrei Markov bobbled the puck in the offensive zone on the powerplay, and caused a turnover that ended up in our net, and didn't make up for it, he didn't fight neither.

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