The start of the season is tough, because you always want to make grand statements about teams when you’re really just working off of a small data set.
Watching last night’s Rangers-Devils, on Versus (I’m one of the 50 people left with Versus), I was very impressed by the Devils. They didn’t look like a typical Jacques Lemaire-coached team. Defensemen joined the rush and there were long stretches without a lot going on in the neutral zone. It was an up-and-down game.
Of course, given the Devils loss, their second in two games, maybe they need a little more defense. GM Lou Lamoriello says he’s not too worried the Devils are 0-2 on the season, but I’m assuming he wants the Devils to win eventually. Lemaire was almost fired as coach of the Wild last December for going 4-9-1, so he’s well aware that he’s being paid to coach wins.
The thing is, in the first two games, the Devils haven’t looked bad. Goalie Martin Brodeur has been a bit off, though. Especially his lateral work. I don’t know if something is tweaked or if it’s just taking him longer to get into game shape, but he hasn’t looked 100% in the Devils first two games.
Speaking of not making too early a proclamation, how great did the Blues look in Sweden? How ragged did the Wings look? I suspect both teams will eventually edge closer to their respective means of playing quality, but it made for a great kickoff to the season. Of course, now the Blues (and Wings) must prepare for their greatest challenge: jet lag.