Bolland Bernier

Wednesday night’s NHL action gave us plenty of reason to be excited about the season, mostly because it confirmed something we thought we already knew: Patrick Roy is a crazy person. We’ll get to that and more below.

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Scores

Toronto 3
Philadelphia 1

Buffalo 1
Detroit 2

Anaheim 1
Colorado 6

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Notable Numbers

* Jonathan Bernier made his debut with the Leafs last night, and made good on it. It can’t be easy when you’re battling for a starting job and the other guy pitches a .919 save percentage and grabs a win in Montreal on opening night, but he wasn’t intimidated. He went into Philadelphia and made 32 saves on 33 shots for a .969 of his own.

* Dave Bolland (two goals, his first two as a Leaf) and Prince Joffrey Lupul (two assists) both had good nights.

* Nathan MacKinnon made his NHL debut and looked great doing it. He started the year with two assists, both of which were beautiful demonstrations of vision and resulted in Jamie McGinn goals.

* Jimmy Howard stopped 19 of 20 shots.

* Something called a Zemgus Girgensons scored his first NHL goal (he’s a tiny 19-year-old Latvian with such a cool name, obviously.)

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Big Story

Patrick Roy is a crazy person

Through 59 minutes and 40 seconds, the story of the game was that the Avalanche absolutely mauled the Anaheim Ducks. In fact, here’s a picture of Nathan MacKinnon in his debut:

Duck hunt dog

They were steamrolling a team many thought would be far better than them 6-0 as the game wound to a close. But no-no. Ben Lovejoy may-or-may-not have semi-kneed MacKinnon, Jacob Silvferberg scored a meaningless goal, some words were exchanged, and Patrick Roy put out some of his big boys (as he should – no reason to have little scorers out there). Then all hell broke loose, Roy snapped and got caught up in a chirp-fest with Corey Perry, and followed that up with damn near pushing the entire bench divider onto Bruce Boudreau’s head:

One game, one win, one snapshow. Goddamn is this man going to be fun to have in the NHL. The Avalanche have personality again! Isn’t this great? (By the way, in the past I wrote about why I thought hiring Roy was the wrong call, though I gotta say, I’m glad it happened.)

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Pavel Datsyuk scored one of the best goals in recent memory

I promise you I won’t gush over every nice goal that’s scored in the NHL like I’m going to this one – this one just happened to be truly exceptional. For those who’ve never been on skates, it’s tough to explain the difficulty level of the goal. Why does he have a strafe button the rest of us don’t have?

The things I loved:

* Solid positional play to be able to knock down the Sabres’ clearing attempt. (And while we’re talking basics here, nice puck support on the breakout earlier in the clip – he easily handles the pass on his backhand, and gets it to Ericsson quickly.)

* The first stride to elude the guys (now) behind him while controlling the bouncing puck

* The full-body fake. Oohhhh, the full-body fake. That made me make sounds like I was in a Herbal Essence commercial.

* THE BACKHAND. Shelf, no less. I’ve often said that Sidney Crosby has the best backhand in the history of hockey, but every time I do someone reminds me of Datsyuk and I have to rein it in and go “Oh yeah, that dude is easily on par”. Even if you’ve never skated, grab a stick and a puck in your garage and try to replicate this Datsyuk shot. Unless it’s actually Crosby reading this, you can’t do it.

LET’S WATCH:

Dirty, filthy, nasty, mean, unfair, unkind goal. There’s talent, then there’s whatever that was. I love Ryan Miller staring at the puck in the net after the goal trying to piece together the last few moments of his life.

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Other News

* Ilya Bryzgalov signed with Las Vegas of the ECHL(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). He’s a Las Vegas Wrangler. In the ECHL.

He’s a rich, NHL-quality goaltender who is a Las Vegas Wrangler playing hockey out The Orleans Hotel & Casino, across from a strip club. Somebody get the cameras fired up for this, please. I need this to be covered like 24/7, only closer.

* Coyotes goaltender Thomas Greiss got a terrifying mask. Who wants to look at this in their stall every day?

In the words of the great Drew Magary, NOPE.

* And finally, from Redditor “Freisenburger,” this grocery story in Canada’s capital isn’t fooling around with their pixel art. Go Sens go.

Sens Logo

Comments (21)

  1. Heavily biased as a Colorado fan, but I’m excited about Roy. When he’s not in Hulk mode he seems contemplative in a Bylsma / Babcock like way and seems to be genuinely hungry to improve himself as a coach. Definitely a step up from Sacco who just always struck me as a bit dim and disinterested.

    • I’m jealous of your coach. He’s kind of awesome. Also, I would not fight him if presented the choice.

  2. Weird, I worked at that grocery store all through high school. They do something similar every year, I think I remember one for the 2010 olympics as well. Pretty cool actually.

  3. That was a great game. Great debuts for Mac and Roy.

    Gotta love the pundits picking the Ducks to make the playoffs, sorry 2007 was a long time ago, that team is over the Apex – to say the least. The Avs are stacked. Pretty pathetic that they finished dead last last year.

    Some of the TSN and PD predictions are insane. Sharks to win the cup? Canucks to barely sneak into the playoffs? Montreal to make the playoffs and the Leafs to miss? Lundqvist as the best goalie in the world?

    It’s really weird that Lundqvist is struggling mightily now that Torts is gone and freewheeling Vigneault is behind the bench. Strange..

    • The Avs defense is still lousy and they were outshot 36-29 last night, hopefully one or all of Siemens, Bigras, or Elliott really pan out well. Also, they finished a very respectable 29th last year rather than dead last!

      • You’re right, I forgot they won the lottery!

        True, their D is sub-par, but they have some big dudes on the backend, and since they can basically focus on defence, and leave the scoring to their All Star team up front, it’s not going to be an easy job for anyone to get to the net.

        They’ve also got some crazy quick, talented two-way guys in Rielly, Duchene, and MacKinnon…it’ll be interesting

    • Yeah, strange. Especially considering they haven’t played a game yet. Lundqvist isn’t a fluke, but yeah, he won’t be quite as good without the defensively oriented defense system in front of him.

      • Wow, I guess my point was too complex.

        He’s going to see breakdowns this year like he’s never seen before. It’s going to affect his stats, and people’s perception of him. Which I think is funny, considering that, at the moment, most people think he’s the best goalie on the planet. Get it?

  4. Justin… I gotta I really enjoy this new “On The Regroup” feature. It has become my second favorite hockey read, just behind Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts”.

    Love your sense of humour and informed take on things. The Nathan MacKinnon photo made me laugh out loud.

    Thanks.

  5. “There’s talent, then there’s whatever that was. I love Ryan Miller staring at the puck in the net after the goal trying to piece together the last few moments of his life.” Justin — You’re the best writer in hockey. For real.

    • Well said!! I haven’t bothered to read any of the traditional writers (Campbell of THN, Spector) articles in a long time. Do those old guys even like hockey??

  6. It was a nice backhand but Datsyuk benefited by the interference/pick of #52 on Buf #6.

  7. The Sobeys/Metro chain in the GTA does that with their sodas too, it’s awesome

  8. Shoot, I forget what game it was (maybe Caps/Chicago) and either Doc. or Edzo broke out a BARDOWN call for a goal. Sadly, they didn’t include dot com.

  9. Speaking as someone from Las Vegas who will actually get to see the Wranglers play this season? DIS IS GONNA BE FUN.

  10. I want to see Datsyuk and Crosby play the equivalent of HORSE, but only backhands.

  11. Gordie had a pretty fair backhand, from either side.

  12. That sens logo is really not impressed man…

  13. I’ve thought a lot of things, good and bad, about Roy over his career.
    That man is GOOD for hockey. Glad youre back in the NHL, Patrick.

  14. The Ducks were just “unlucky” last night.

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