Was at the game yesterday (2 periods anyway) and aside from popcorn, nachos, soft pretzel, and 2 bud lights, I saw some interesting stuff.
1) I was really impressed by the determination and physicality of this team yesterday. Haley, Howes, Gillies, Colliton--we literally tossed the River Rats around like rag dolls, and there was a really high compete level for loose pucks. Haley basically wrecked the whole River Rats team on one shift. Its a bit hard for me to understand why he isn't on the fourth line on Long Island (maybe bc Pando is PK unit #2?) Either way, I saw a lot of really hard nosed plays.
2) Related to #1, I am wondering how Brent Thompson is managing to do so much with these players? Even without Cizikas and Ullstrom, the team looked good. Their line changes were great too. This coach deserves a lot of credit for doing what he has with this team, esp while losing key players to call ups throughout the year.
3) We have some real team speed. Romano made an awesome play in the 2nd, really nice stick handling skills, and Sean Backman is unbelievably fast. Howes did some great work too. These guys were flying around the rink.
4) Aaron Ness looked awesome, and I think he should get the call up again. 2 goals, both pretty shots.
5) De Haan looked good on the puck, but a little tentative (understandable in first game back). Hope these injuries aren't long term liabilities.
6) Nilsson is FRIGGING ENORMOUS. He was a little off his line on both goals--if he gets his angles tighter he is going to be very hard to beat.