Sully Scores Thrice and Makes Coyotes Fans Say, "Ray, Who?"
Awh, look at Sully. He’s a kid again; smiling ear to ear, looking almost like he’s in his red jammies on Christmas morning. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first when GMDM signed Sully. Ray Whitney left some pretty big little skates to fill and I wasn’t convinced that just ‘cause Sully was small and scrappy and older that he’d be the next coming of the Wizard. But last night, and frankly through the start of the season for many teams, it’s the Vets that are showing their stuff-proving that experience and all the great habits they’ve practiced over the years make a difference in a shortened season. I didn’t expect Sully to score a hat trick last night but that Vermette-Doan-Sullivan line proved hot. Now to be fair, it was a win against the now Nashless Columbus Blue Jackets but they’ve beaten us three out of the four times we saw them last season. Also, I’m thankful that Detroit wore them down a bit, spanking them in a shoot out. That extra period that they had to skate couldn’t have helped on the quick turnaround, so yay! Thanks for the help Detroit. Your check is in zee mail.
Aaaaaand, speaking of quick turnarounds…the Coyotes face the Sharks tonight in the notoriously difficult shark tank. Niemi is near perfect at 2 games, 2 wins and only a 2 goals per game average. We’ve been offensive minded in these first few games as our defense struggles to find its groove. So counting on offense is not going to help much against Niemi and the Sharks. We need defense and we need it in a hurry. From what I saw last night, we still had some sloppy tactics-turnovers, brain farts and the like but there definitely was evidence of the system working better as it was simplified.
The biggest key to our defense left the ice last night at about 11 minutes in though. LaBarbs replaced the Hair Wonder and had a pretty solid game. It definitely was beneficial that Smitty’s sudden exit came so early in the period. His replacement was likely still a bit sweaty from warm ups and seemed ready to go immediately.
So who’s in net tonight? A lower body injury can mean anything from a groin pull to a hang nail so we’ll have to wait and see. At this point, LaBarbera has the winning record so I’m not worried.* Also on the injury train (day to day) is Hanzal (lower body but it’s probably his stupid back) and Klesla aka Mr. “I never met a shot that I didn’t wanna block.” This guy, along with Gordon, is addicted to taking one for the team. I get the feeling that they watch a lot of that show “Jackass” in their downtime. In any case, as much as last night felt like a “must win” to boost our confidence, this game tonight is a "must win" as the Sharks are in our division. All the division games are so critical in this truncated season if we ever want to raise- or in our case “unceremoniously unfurl “- a banner in our barn again.
*I’m so worried, you guys.