What separates that game against the Preds from yesterday's game against the Lightning? Oh, that the former featured AHLers, and the latter featured this line-up:
Kovalchuk- Antropov- Little
Kozlov- White- Afinogenov
Kane- Reasoner- Peverley
Boulton- Slater- Thorburn
That, ladies and gentlemen, is basically our starting line-up for the year. Valabik was paired with Kubina instead of Hainsey being with Kubina, and the result was... um... *sigh* Boris this pre-season has been absolutely horrible, and yesterday was no exception. He got laid out by a guy a foot shorter than him, started a stupid fight, got a ten-minute instigator for fighting right off the whistle (did he not get that memo? It's not like it hasn't been everywhere), and was not so hot on the PK. Kubina tried to keep him focused much as Hainsey did last year, by yelling at him, but that didn't work.
Our penalty kill in general was abysmal, going 3/6. Yes, we were on the PK six times. One of those times was caused by Pavelec and his lack of puck handling skills. He crossed into the trapezoid zone of no, and got a delay of game call. Of course, we were scored on.
Pavs' stickhandling and puck control make Kari look like Marty Turco in a good year. Very poor rebound control. Several stops he made either didn't stop all the way and rolled in, or he stopped and deflected right to a Bolt parked in front of the goal. He let in 5 of 26 shots. Not a good showing for someone who needed to shine tonight. He's been given the most playing time this postseason out of all of the goalies (Legace the least). He's shown a few times that he doesn't have the mental focus to stay in a game for the whole 60 minutes. If we have a bad night like we had last night, and he's our last line of defense, I don't trust him to rise above the situation. Heck, we had a good night against the Preds, and he still let in 4 goals, three of which were very, very weak.
Cuts might be coming today (Fritsche was released today), and I like so many others are anxious about their choice in goal. Waddell said at the Fan Club meeting yesterday that they were in talks with Manny's agent, which is great. Honestly, though, he's the one who needs to start opening night. Pavs needs a few more years to get his head on straight before he can perform at this level.
Wait, what? Doesn't my resume count for anything? Yeah, I forgot to mention last season, but...
EDIT: Apparently DW and JA disagree, because Manny was just released on waivers. Mark my words, this is going to be a HUGE mistake. We finally have a solid NHL line-up again, and we're starting the year with the Boy Wonder in goal. Fan-freaking-tastic. A vast majority of Thrashers fans are actually pretty livid. Manny made a huge impact at camp, played well in the Carolina game, and actually gave us hope that we'd have a REAL STARTING GOALTENDER. Thanks.