I had been looking forward to the is game for a few reasons. The first being it was my first game with the Coyotes. I will be subbing for them this year, and I think I can bring some experience and speed to the team. It is my first game on the blue line where I will be playing mostly for the Coyotes. Additionally, the Coyotes were playing the Immortals, my old team.
I knew it was going to be a long game, but it went better than I had expected. I think a huge advantage for me was I was able to analyze threats better because I knew the players' skills better than I would most teams.
I had a really strong first period. I had no goals against while I was on the ice. At one point, early on, I had picked up a puck in the slot, and basically created a break away by going end to end. I was shocked no one picked me up. But I suspect that this forced the defense to respect my speed, even when I'm in my own zone with out the puck.
Part of me was a little bit shocked to see what it was like playing on the blue line. You really can control the entire game. You're responsible for making the long stretch pass, or you're responsible for just dumping the puck in the neutral zone. You can skate the puck way up with a bit of speed pushing everyone back, and so on.
I did force myself to carry the puck a little bit more than I usually do. The rest of the team wouldn't carry the puck at all. But by carrying it, I was helping myself, and the team by showing them the benefits of carrying it and how much time they had.
I had an issue with being a weaker guy on the ice. I couldn't move players from in front of the net, and I couldn't hook players down. Not having the strength made me play much differently, but I still have a lot to learn back there. But it was still a good effort, and I will keep working back there and using my strengths.
We lost 10-1. They're just a stronger team, but the Coyotes can be a solid team.
One game down, many more to go.