Friday, October 9, 2009

Holtby makes up for Bears sloppiness

That looked like what it was, an early season game coming off a long stretch of no games. If it wasn't for Braden Holtby in net the Penguins surely would have won the game tonight. He made 38 saves, many of them with quick reflexes and fluid movements.

Pass after pass between Bears defensemen went wrong. If they kept any sort of stats based on how many passes miss there intended target I think this game would have set records for low success rates. Neither team could complete many passes.

While the game was definitely entertaining I didn't find it well played but considering it was the 2nd game of the season after a week off between games it was to be expected.

John Walton and Tim Leone made mention of the difficult decision facing Hershey now. Holtby has won 2 games and has given up a total of 1 goal. Do you send him to South Carolina when Neuvirth gets healthy? Or do you send Bacashihua? I wouldn't want to make that call. The argument for still sending Holtby is that he will be the #1 guy for the Stingrays and will only be the part timer in Hershey. So if you want him to get work....

Hershey managed to make the most of their opportunities while the Pens missed on many of theirs. Darren Reid, Boyd Kane, and Keith Aucoin had the goals for the Bears none of which came with the man advantage though. One game after going 3 for 6 on the power play the Hershey unit stalled and missed on all 4 of their chances.

During the course of the season teams play in many different types of games, from shootouts to defensive battles to penalty filled to games against (and with) hot goalies. The more ways a team can win the better off they will be at the end of the season. In this game Hershey got the hot goalie playing behind them and managed to convert a few chances into goals to get the win.

My Three Stars of the Game:
  1. Braden Holtby - obviously the best player on the ice. Won the game for the Bears in my opinion.
  2. John Curry - honestly he played very well. Defense hung him out to dry on 2nd goal and 3rd was bounced in off of him.
  3. Darren Reid - game winning goal gets him 3rd star

Grading the Performance:
  • Offense | B- | Honestly it wasn't good. They missed plenty of other opportunities throughout the game. And some players, Giroux, need to shoot the puck more. He passed up a chance to make a pass that wasn't there. Passing and positioning seemed to be the points of weakness. Guys were just kind of gliding around the zone and not getting set up at all.
  • Defense | C | Positioning was poor, passing was horrendous, but the hustle was good. I would say that every member of the defense screwed up at some point tonight. They managed to escape with the win but allowing 38 shots to any team in regulation is not good. Plenty of missed opportunities for the Pens.
  • Goaltending | A | Holtby was the best player on the ice tonight...hands down. He made save after save, many difficult to win this game. Does he end up in SC...who knows...I don't want to make that call.
  • Power Play | B | They didn't score (0-4) but they set up each time and got plenty of shots at Curry. They did miss some chances but overall I think they played well but they didn't get any bounces tonight.
  • Penalty Kill | B | They obviously shut out the Pens (0-5) but there were some lapses in positioning and awareness that almost led to some goals. Surprised to see Perreault killing penalties.
  • Overall | B | Not a great game by any stretch but tonight it was enough. Struggled in every facet of the game except goaltending. But there will always be games like that. No team can play perfect hockey for 80+ games a season. If you can win the ones where you struggle...that is a good sign.


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