Six goals and a loss. Welcome to the new NHL. At least losing a 6-7 game is way more fun than losing a 2-1 game. Also, the surest sign that the NHL is different now: Jamal Mayers with 2 goals tonight.
Along the same lines, I have never written sillier statement than the one I am about to lay down. Patrick Lalime looked pretty good tonight. Giving up 7 goals is a freakin' trainwreck, but if Chris Osgood was still our goalie, that would have been at leat a 10 spot on the board. Hell, Evgeni Nabokov, one of the better goalies in the league (and supported by a better defensive corps), gave up 6 freakin' goals and played pretty well. The new NHL will take some getting used to, but I think we can all agree that goals are more fun than great stifling defense. But back to Lalime. He had some amazing saves that Osgrip would have never has a chance on. Even better news: Osgood is due back in net for Detroit soon.
If we had a better defense, Lalime would be making us proud about now, but the defense allowed far too many rebounds to lay around and failed to clear the crease effectively. Again in the new NHL, clearing the crease is very difficult to do without drawing penalties, but there has to be a better solution than the "let it be" policy of the current blueline crew.
Which brings me to one last topic for tonight. The new NHL, if the rules continue to be enforced, has the potential to be wildly exciting and could bring in tons of new fans. But these rules will force out plenty of dinosaurs who cannot adapt to the changing climate. The vast majority of the dinosaurs that will be dying are the hulking, defensive defensemen who have survived on nastiness and hooking/grabbing/holding. Those guys are now PIM Kings and will fall down and off depth charts soon enough. The list is long, but here are a few that I've seen this week and/or that I know from previous years just can't make the cut.
Chris Chelios - too old, too slow, toograbby. The game has passed him by.
Derian Hatcher - this guy made his name during the years when the trap was king. Goodbye big D.
Jassen Cullimore, Bob Boughner, Jamie Allison, Cory Cross and guys of this ilk have been drawing huge paychecks to ruin the game one shift at a time. They'll all be gone next year. Of the 6 I named, only Hatcher will still be aroung in 06-07, and it'll be much farther down the depth chart than the top pairing.