Skudra Ties Hasek, Legace Gets Blackburned

How did Hasek perform? How did the young Rangers play against the young Red Wings? This game was brutal, yet a great pre-season opener.Since the home team was Detroit, the Red Wings get the article’s Topic. If you wanted to watch a game full of penalties, bone crunching checks, and a total of 62 penalty minutes, then this was the one.

The Game

Just by looking at the player match-ups, the Red Wings had a 70% chance of winning the game against the Rangers. Skudra vs Hasek, give me a break here…Hasek would have destroyed Skudra. The Rangers failed to score a goal on Hasek, as did the Red Wings fail to score a goal on Skudra. Skudra played really well making some good saves, facing more shots. Hasek made all the saves look easy, he played the angles well and appears to be as good as he was last season. What surprises me is Skudra. I remember Skudra had a good number of games back in Pittsburgh, where he was playing with Lalime. Funny how many young goalies died in Pittsburgh, Lalime, Skudra, and Aubin. I think Skudra can be a great back-up for the Rangers, if he once was a good back up/starter for the Penguins, then he can get another chance.

Both teams make the goalie change, Wings put in Legace, and the Rangers put in Blackburn, this year’s number 1 draft pick. I expect Blackburn to lose the game, since it was his first NHL experience ever. Obviously, you think Blackburn vs Legace….hmmm…Legace wins. Well, i thought that too but i was wrong. Blackburn played really well, for a 19 year old. Legace played well too, not facing too many shots. But, Legace let in one soft goal, the Rangers game winner. I must say Legace looked out of it, even with the little shots he faced, he was out of position sometimes, and was not careful. Blackburn let in 2 goals, one was hard to save and the other he could have saved if he positioned himself better. Legace let in three goals, one was a soft one, and the other two were Hasek savable. Does Blackburn have a good chance ot make the Rangers? I think he does, but he will be sent down to the minors and possibly the Hartford Wolfpack. Right now, it’s a battle between Blackburn, Skudra, and Holmqvist. As for the Wings, they should make the smart move here. If Osggod plays better than Legace, then keep Osgood and forget about Legace. Osgood can play as back up for one or two seasons, then he can resume his starting position.

The Rangers squad had less stars than the Wings. Rangers main star was Fleury, while the Wings had Shanahan, and Federov as their stars, along with Draper, Chelios and McCarty. Rangers had Dvorak playing, received little ice time, and Fleury as their main star who played quite a lot.

The New Faces

The Red Wings had more youngsters on the defense than on the offense. Fischer played really well, but he needs to avoid the unecessary penalties, he has to make the team, and Wallin looked solid. Olausson seems to have a good come back in the NHL, and he could earn a very important role on the PP. I tried to observe Butsayev a lot, and to tell you the truth, he did not perform the way i thought he would. He received a good amount of ice time, and had the puck many times too. He reminds me of a lesser Afinogenov who skates well, has good puck handling, but it will take him a while to become a 3rd line NHLer. The other Wings i did not recognize, but i do know that the Wings have a good number of prospects.

The Rangers offense looked really solid in the neutral zone, which is the biggest improvement. The young defensemen looked still a bit shaky and out of place but they stopped Shanahan from scoring. Ulanov played really really well and Karpa had a so so game…nothing great. Ciger did not play much and was not paired with Dvorak, just York a few times. Johansson, who scored two goals, played really well. He is deffinately going to be playing with Fleury. He is a tough forechecker and he stays solid infront of the net for rebounds, he really impressed me, and Lundmark did not get that much ice time, but he saved a goal…good defensive player. This defenseman Martin Richter, scored game winner, looks to be a real good defenseman too.

I think the Wings will have a great season, Hasek looked great in net, weird to see him in a Wings uniform. Rangers…well i think the preseason is mostly based for the line-ups, which rookie will make the team, and who will be the back up, that’s mostly it. They do look good in the future, but i have yet to see Lindros play and Holmqvist.

Micki Peroni