Welcome to your newest semi-regular (also known as “whenever I remember to do it”) feature here at the Chairman’s! I’m not entirely sure what’s going to be new or original about it, but let’s just assume there’s something innovative here. Look, you get what you pay for, right? Let’s get right into it after the jump, after this feature’s official theme song:
Saturday was, for the most part, quite a nice day for ol’ MJ. I woke up early, took the dog out for a walk, built a nice all-day fire and opened up the day with a gloriously unhealthy breakfast that featured copious amounts of hash browns. Spurs pulled out a win against Fulham, and Ohio State gagged on their own hubris for a loss to Wisconsin. Toss in a Crunch win, and the fact that the Yankees lost doesn’t seem so bad.
Let’s talk about the win over Bingo, shall we? While it wasn’t a flawless night, it was as complete a game as the Crunch have put together so far in this young season. The first period was, for my money, the best twenty minutes of hockey they’ve put together yet, and it was incredibly satisfying to see that effort pay off with a pair of first period goals. And what goals they were! Brust really didn’t have a chance on either one, and that Bonino-Deschamps goal was a thing of beauty. All things considered, the first period was, I think, a solid indicator of what these guys can — and hopefully will — put together on a consistent basis as the season unfolds. If that’s the case, I’m satisfied.
Your MVP of the evening, unquestionably, was Timo Pielmeier. He made every save he needed to make, threw in a couple of gorgeous stops (my personal favorite being the lunging glove save with the half-twist) along the way, and earned that shutout. And for the record, I don’t give a fuck what the scoreboard says, that was a shutout. Unless I missed something, there was no way in hell Butler’s shot went in. I may be wrong on that, but from where I was sitting, it looked like it went through the crease without ever hitting the net. Either way, that was a fabulous effort for Timo, who certainly deserved that first star of the night.
Speaking of Timo, let’s take a minute to point something out here. Remember all the talk during the summer and preseason from certain dwarfish beat writers about the lack of a veteran goalie on the roster, and how that was going to spell doom and gloom before the season even began? Notice how you’re not really hearing anything about that now that the season has actually begun? Uh huh. Same thing with all of the clamoring for a veteran sniper. Mmhmm. Now, with that said, does this mean that Timo is the heir apparent? No, of course not. One great outing against a bad team in October is not a sufficient sample size to make any kind of definitive statement about the rest of the season. However, it should be a nice confidence boost for the kid to get that first W out of the way, and so long as the defense keeps playing well in front of him, there’s no reason for the doom and gloom predictions. If Levasseur rises to the occasion and can push Timo for the starting job, that should make for a nice problem to have.
Finally, a word about the defense. I don’t think anyone will argue that the defensive corps has been the strength of this team so far. With the offensive struggles to get shots on net thus far, I’d hate to think how bad those losses last week would have been with a shitty defense. Scott Niedermayer’s work with the defense over the week was clearly evident: there was a lot more confidence in the defensive zone, with more than a few calmly played chips out to clear the puck. Yes, there were a couple of shaky moments in the third period last night, but it was another solid defensive outing on the whole. Hopefully this trend continues.
An aside — having Niedermayer in town all week to work with the defense really illustrates the difference in philosophy between Columbus and Anaheim. Last season, it took half the season to even get a goddamned goalie coach down here to work with LaCosta. Two weeks into this season, and Anaheim sends us a future hall of famer to pitch in. That shows me that the Ducks are fully invested in what’s going on here, and want to see a winning operation in Syracuse. It seems that the Anaheim brass understands that development isn’t a dirty word, and that building a winner here will eventually translate into building a winner there. What a novel concept! We also need to take into consideration that Anaheim, you know, actually has future hall of famers within the organization to do such things. Ahem…
All in all, it was a solid first win of the season. Yes, these guys should have beaten ADK Friday night, but a trio of one-goal losses is better than a string of blowout losses. Had there been more shots in those games, we could be sitting at 4-0 to start things off instead of 1-3. Some of that’s growing pains from a very young team, and I’d like to think that that will begin to subside, especially now that that first win of the season is out of the way. Let’s not forget that there is some nice young talent here, and, at times, baby steps will be all that we’ll get. The potential is there and plainly visible, though, and seeing how it plays out is going to be damn fun to watch.
That’s it for this edition of the Hangover. For those of you that enjoy wagering on the football, the O/U for the San Fran/Oakland game is 41 1/2. If they hit the over, I’ll be astonished. I’d give you my opinion on the Jets, but I’m not jinxing anything. Just know that if I had a gambling problem, I know what I’d do with the line at 3 1/2. Right.
Enjoy your sabbath, you sinners!