On New Year’s Day pretty much everything in the world of hockey revolved around the NHL‘s Winter Classic, as it should. The Classic is one of the best events of the hockey season, and this year’s showdown in the snowy blizzard at the Big House in Ann Arbor was one of the best in recent memory. After the game, the Olympic roster for Team USA was announced. On Thursday many of the hockey blogs were focusing on the snubs and the speculation that the Canadian roster is expected to be announced next Tuesday.
Thursday night the Montreal Canadiens also were in Texas to take on the Dallas Stars. While not all the Olympic rosters have been announced yet, several players who figure to be locks for their respective countries or named to a squad already shined bright in a back and forth game that featured plenty of offense.
For the Canadiens, Team USA Representative Max Pacioretty was a force in the game, posting four points on two goals and two assists while finishing with a plus minus rating of plus-three. Canadian hopeful Olympian P.K. Subban was arguably the best player on the ice, making several solid defensive plays, and also chipping in four points (1 G, 3 A). He was plus-three while leading Montreal in ice time. While goaltender Carey Price did allow four goals on 32 shots for a below average statistical outing, he did make several acrobatic and momentum swinging saves. Two goals allowed were to pucks that were knuckling, and any goalie can tell you those are some of the hardest to get a read on.
On the Stars’ side, Tyler Seguin (1 G, 1 A) and Jamie Benn (1 G, 4 shots) both continued their amazing chemistry and are giving the Canadian selection committee a tough decision on whether or not to roster the dynamic duo. On a night where some players were playing lights out, Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen surprisingly had an off night, allowing five goals on 27 Montreal shots. Lehtonen was overaggressive throughout the night which led to him being out of position, yet he still came up with several highlight reel saves. While I’m not sure if Valeri Nichushkin is going to be on this year’s Russian squad, but he certainly will be in the future and scored a beauty of a penalty shot goal.
From the perspective of a fan, the game was certainly an entertaining affair. Possible French representative Antoine Rousel had a big league fight with Travis Moen, and Cameron Gaunce squared off against Ryan White. With 10 total goals including a penalty shot goal, great saves, momentum swings and leads exchanged it is easy to see that the Olympics in Sochi are going to be a great treat for hockey fans.
As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.
Read more from Dustin here.