10.09.2008

Toronto vs. Detroit OPENING NIGHT!!

Wow.

The Toronto Maple Leafs actually beat defending cup champ Detroit on the NHL's opening night. 3-2 was the final score, and there were definitely a lot of points to notice in the game, mainly about the revamped Toronto team.

- Can Pavel Kubina be a second offensive catalyst from the blue-line? He showed some offensive instincts eerily similar to the good days of Sandis Ozolinsh with that first Maple Leafs goal. The Leafs would love not having to rely on only Tomas Kaberle. However, Kubina hasn't ever really been an offensive defenseman.

- Dominic Moore was all the hype after Toronto's first pre-season game, showing a lot of offensive prowess and challenging for the no. 1 center spot. He goes on to score the game-tying goal tonight; will the Leafs use him for offense as well as defense?

- Tomas Holmstrom showed that he's still going to be one of the best goal-crashing forwards in the league, scoring both goals for Detroit in his usual style.

- Nikolai Kulemin made a very promising NHL debut; how does first game-winning goal sound? Could the Leafs have a challenger for the Calder trophy in their hands?

- The entire Leafs set of forwards seemed to be based on getting offensive opportunities, and even the 'D', specifically Kubina, Kaberle, and rookie Luke Schenn, had a couple of chances at the net. A lot of the Leafs plays came from playing physical, tough hockey in the corners, and battling for the puck at every chance.

- Although not generating any goals, the Leafs line of Jason Blake, Mikhail Grabovski, and Alexei Ponikarovsky was strong on the puck all night and got several shots off. Sophomore Jiri Tlusty also seemed to connect pretty well with Niklas Hagman. Alex Steen, Jonas Frogren, and Dominic Moore clicked well on Moore's goal, while Nik Kulemin was just plain showing off (not) on a break-away.

- I'm hoping Nicklas Lidstrom can have a good influence on younger players by deciding to wear a visor throughout the year. I know it's only because of his facial injury (puck to the face in the pre-season), but hopefully he'll look "cool" enough to make some younger hockey players keep a visor on even when they have the option not to wear one.

- Attention all fans of scraps in front of the net and plenty of body checks: the NHL has you covered.


That's all I can write for tonight. I'll get a little more up tomorrow about the Boston-Colorado game. No chance to watch Def Leppard, though.