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16 February 2009

Give It A Game!

Now, I hope that all you people really didn't think that the new coach could change anything but line assignments and some other minor things without even a practivce under his belt, because it wasn't going to happen. I do, however love the fact that they did move the assistant coaching around a bit. I was complaining about the Pens keeping Mike Yeo aboard despite our power play woes. Well, they kept him, but moved him to defense as opposed to offense. That responsibility went to Tom Fitzgerald. I like this move. It retains some continuity for our team. He might actually be good with the defense. Today's game that made me nervous beginning to end, was an evaluation period for the coaches and the players. The object was simply to find out who had chemistry and who was willing to put in the extra effort. I saw alot of effort, but I also saw alot of mistakes. I guess they need to practice what Bylsma wants to put on the ice. We play Montreal at home on Thursday. I think we will show what we are capable of in this new system. I liked some of the little things you saw the new coach do that was different, he took some chances to see what the players would give him.

I saw Ray Shero do an interview during the game. He really gave me the indication that this coach might be here to stay. He also gave me the feeling that the whole 1-2-2 idea was all Therrian. I say this because he kept reverting back to not liking the way the team was playing. He wanted more excitement, utilizing our speed and our talent to strike fear into our opponents. I love this thought process. Will we be able to do it? We will see. The staff also interviewed Billy Thomas, our Fox Chapel native who spent alot of time under the guidance of the new coach. He said nothing but great things about Bylsma. He said that he is not afraid to stop practice just to coach. He likes to correct the little things. I am not sure if that was a shot at Therrian for not coaching or a plug for Bylsma. It might be a little of both.

It looked as if the team was liking the wide open style a little more. Fleury let in a weak goal and they smoked him in the shootout. That doesn't happen often.

I do have to compliment the power play for today. The goal we got from Whitney was wonderful, for a split minute, I felt like it was last year. The way the puck was passed back and forth from tape to tape. I almost cried.

The other thing I wanted to mention is the play of Sergei Gonchar. I will be honest. I apparently completely forgot how good he was. I guess we are spoiled with him. He is so smooth and never seems to be out of place. The power play seems easier with him out there. The positioning of his stick and skates on every play seems almost flawless. He seems to bring a positive attitude to the entire team when he is on the ice.

I am really interested in what the staff has in store for the team over the next couple of days. We will really get a feel of what kind of a coach he is and where we will stand come the end of the year. I hope he is everything he seems right now.


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