We're definitely back to hockey. The three great signs of hockey:
A high-octane rookie
Fans, this year you will be treated to the playmaking skills of Chicago Blackhawks rookie Jonathan Toews, not to mention the up-and-coming Nicklas Backstrom.
Great Goals (Individually)
No memorable example yet, but plenty of swatting-the-puck-in-mid-air by Josef Vasicek and Bill Guerin. Wathcing two games now, Mikko Koivu got a pretty nice goal against Manny Legace.
And Last but not Least (but we wish it was)...
A stretcher case already.
Yeah, yeah, I know some of you think that a stretcher-inducing hit means a rough game, and, honestly, the Senators and Flyers were scrapping pretty hard. But a late, off-the-feet hit like Steve Downie's is really hard to respect.
I mean, come on, Steve! Honestly, if I were a worse guy, I'd be cursing him. Sure, sure, we had lots of that stuff last year in the regular season. Colton Orr drops Todd Fedoruk. Jonathan Tootoo sucker-punches Stephane Robidas. McAmmond again, last year, got his noggin a-little-more-than-clipped by Chris Pronger's elbow in the playoffs. Anything else that happened, I've probably written about it. Check the archives.
But my point is, as a killer prospect with humongous offensive potential and a real chance for grabbing a spot during camp, this is not what you want to do. Even if Downie had scored, I don't know, say, 5 points so far in the preseason, Paul Holmgren still has that nagging voice in the back of his head: Steve Downie is hated by the Senators. Steve Downie has a notorious history for knocking people's brain against the wrong part of their skulle. Steve Downie could be suspended to many times for the NHL to handle. Are you sure you want this? Not an easy thing to put in your GM's mind, and I thought he really had a good chance of making the Flyers. Out of necessity, the Flyers might still put him on the third or fourth line. But his reputation is already tarnished.
On the other hand, I like the way Nick Foligno is shaping up. He happened to (no, he definitely deserved to) play in that same game, and his offensive instincts were on display. He should make an impact, even if he starts out like Patrick Eaves. He'll still be good.Alright, short on time today, might not write again for a while. Heck, expect a similar wait to last time.