By Michael Russo
I’ll write more after practice, but I figured I’d check in. As I worked ahead on a bunch of stuff last night, I listened to the game in the background.
Sounds to me like Benoit Pouliot made himself known all night. Most notable, he played center and it sounded like he played it well. Remember, the Wild needs a top liner to play with Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra, preferably a center so Demitra can play wing.
They’ve told Pouliot to work on his center play and clearly he has.
He won the draw cleanly back to Brian Rolston for the first of Rolston’s two goals. It also sounded like he was making some pretty nifty plays, including one late to Matt Foy, who shanked it like he often does.
Foy brings energy and million-dollar legs, but nobody barely misses or hits the pipe as often as Foy. I still think he’ll make the team though.
Also sounded as if Dominic Moore and Eric Belanger had quality games. Both were winning draws all night, and this is an area the Wild has been atrocious at the last few years. But Moore and Belanger have a history of winning them, which could prove big during the season.
Win faceoff, control the puck. Lose faceoff, chase the puck. It’s a pretty simple formula.
In other news, anybody notice that Chris Simon was kicked out of yesterday’s Islanders-Rangers game? That’s not a shock. The guy’s a goon and that’s happened a million times to him.
Funny, though, but I thought Chris Simon was suspended 25 games for swinging his stick at Ryan Hollweg’s head last year.
After further review, Simon indeed has five games left on his suspension, yet is allowed to play in the preseason while the Wild’s Sean Hill is not? I’m not discounting what Hill’s accused to have done (19 more games on a 20-game suspension for allegeding using steroids, which he flatly denies). But the NHL allows a guy to play who landed the league on CNN and NBC and the front of SportsCenter for using his stick as a weapon?
What’s the rationale? Hmm, let’s make eligible the guy that gave the league a further black eye on the public airwaves and would be a criminal if he clubbed a guy in the head on the streets of New York.
Very bright as usual by the NHL. As usual, there’s no consistency in anything the NHL decides. They have no uniform rules. It’s like they make up this stuff on the fly.
And of course, Simon rewards the league by charging Hollweg in yesterday’s preseason game and triggering a brawl. Well done, NHL. Well done.
If you want to see Simon’s head-hunting, check this out.