Not a great night at the Ice Rink, Snakes fans. As Jerome told me after the game, they were flat from the get-go. If you just look at the SOG totals, you'll see one indicator of the kind of game it was. The Snakes had 15 shots...total!! They should have that each period. The power play struggled and they just couldn't get into any rhythm offensively at all.
Now before we start throwing the entire team under the bus, remember this is an exhibition game. A practice...with lots of hitting. Strangers out there as your opponents instead of the gold team vs the blues. Also, keep in mind that the majority of guys out there are virtual strangers, having skated together 4 mornings plus last night.
Watching from my perch in the mezzanine were Derek Pallardy, Levi Lind, Tom Maldonado, Jonathan Redlick, Bret Tyler and Alex MacLeod. Brett Hammond was behind the bench with Brad Prefontaine. One of the perks of having such a big camp is that you can sit guys and evaluate the ones fighting for remaining roster spots.
Bret is hurt, painfully but not seriously, and Alex was suspended for his hit on Matt Auffrey last night. Alex was assessed only an elbowing minor during the game and wasn't sure of the exact reason for the suspension, but assumed it was the league's general emphasis on player safety.
I think he has a point, but the hit was shoulder-to-shoulder and Auffrey had his head down. I'm certainly not diminishing the severity of Auffrey's injury, but I've told to both Alex and Auffrey and I'm not getting the feeling there was anything unusual about the hit.
Auffrey himself told me that he got cut when his head hit the ice. How is that Alex's fault? How is that an offense that warrants a suspension? Don't get me wrong, this is just me thinking out loud. Alex wasn't whining about the suspension at all. This might be a question for my pal, Scott Brand. I keep Scott on speed dial...haha.
Ya'all know I take these guys way too much to heart. I admit it. I feel terrible for the ones who are, maybe at this very moment, about to get cut. It's happening all across this league and others this weekend. Guys who don't fit exactly what coaches are looking for. Guys who looked better on paper or by reputation than they performed on the ice. A ton of guys. A ton of reasons.
The Snakes will make a number of cuts soon...probably tomorrow. Jerome needs to get the roster down to a more manageable number so his team can prepare for the opener in 6 days. He needs to start tinkering in earnest with his lines and Brad putting together his defensive pairings.
Tough decisions. Wouldn't want to be in Jerome's shoes.