I like to think of myself as a pretty sophisticated hockey-watcher. I know I’m kidding myself, but I still like to think that. But when I see a game in person, I miss a LOT. I thought it was a great game, but reading some other recaps leads me to believe that it was even greater than I thought.
The guy next to me was really nice, but he said, “Boy, this is a sloppy game,” about twenty times. I thought it started out that way, but it really improved in the second period and into the third. There was a lot of scoring for a game that I’m going to call good, but it was very exciting.
Matt Niskanen continues to impress me. I keep waiting for him to be tripped up by all the praise he gets. You’d think the other teams would have heard of him by now and realized he needs to be reckoned with. It’s entirely possible that they have and they’re trying, but he’s just that good. Even Sergey Zubov himself can’t say enough about him.
“It’s like being reborn playing with him, honestly,” Zubov said. “He has so much patience and it seems like it’s so easy. It isn’t, but he makes it look easy.”
There were reports that Zubie was very upset that Doug Armstrong didn’t re-sign Darryl Sydor, because he loves playing with him. When Sydor came back last season, Zubie was excited to have him as a partner again. I imagine he was not looking forward to breaking in another partner this season, when it started. But he’s obviously enjoying it now, because his four points in this game make him the league leader for defensemen.
I had a plan while I was watching the game to make a point to tell Brenden Morrow to stop with the dipsy-doodle, blind-pass, through-the-legs kinds of moves and leave those to Mike Ribeiro. But then he got the game-winner in overtime, so I couldn’t stay mad at him. When Ribs does all that, and loses the puck, I just think peh! It’s Ribeiro! That’s what you get in exchange for all the magic he does. Poor Morrow does the same thing and I want to yell at him.
In all fairness, though, when Ribs tries the “reversal” that Morrow does so well, I kind of want to yell at him for that. Mainly because I’m afraid he’ll snap his spine, he’s so thin.
Several other players had great games, including Antti Miettinen. I like to see he’s being appreciated now. He had two assists, and both of them were very nice. No charity assists there.
The other thing I can’t do when I go to the AAC for a game is keep any notes. So even things I did see, I’ve forgotten when they happened and who did it. At one point, right before an Oilers goal, there was a big scrum around Marty’s goal and the puck squirts out behind the net. It just sits there for what seems like a minute while all the Stars just looked around. I will have to check my TiVo for more details on that particular play. Just know that it infuriated me at the time.
There are pluses, of course. When I was walking up to the arena toward the south entrance, past WFAA’s studios and all the high-dollar shops, on the biggest screen, on the front of the arena, they were playing my favorite player highlight reel.