Ok, I know at least a dozen of you read the title and laughed.”Does he forget about the lack of goal scoring?” No, I didn’t. But the team doesn’t exactly have a shortage of prospects and roster players with the potential of 25 goals or so. What they lacked in the postseason was something more sinister and something more obvious; they lacked a real antagonist.
Then, the Preds bring in some hairy dude named Zack Stortini from Edmonton.
Jordin Tootoo will always be Jordin Tootoo, a tough son of a gun who hits, skates the puck, and is now creating plays as well as chaos. However, he’s becoming a more well rounded player who isn’t just hellbent on destruction anymore. It’s great! I love the new Jordin. But at times against the Canucks I wanted to see him crush Alex Burrows cheekbones into granulated marrow. And while Shane O’Brien did his best, he couldnt draw a penalty even if he had a stencil. Especially after he was told to tone it down after game 5 against the Ducks.
Yes, I know this is a preseason game I’m about to reference here. Live with it.
The good guys are trailing 3-2, but had all the momentum in the building. Stortini crushes a tryout player Troy Bodie against the glass behind the Jets’ net. Bodie was NOT happy about this, and tried to fight, but Stortini kept his cool even after Bodie performed a mean judo throw on him. Bodie was assessed a 4 minute double-minor for his action and fine martial arts technique, after which the Preds cashed in both of the minors, and went on to win the game.
Are we making too much out of this particular incident? Not sure. But need I remind you folks about who won the cup this spring? It’s not always the Sedin twins that win…
…sometimes it’s the Brad Marchand’s of the world that succeed.
The last thing I want is the Preds to turn into a team of Alex Burrows and Raffi Torres and… (well crap, let’s just say the Canucks and be done with it), but there is a skill that lies with knowing the opposition and knowing who has a bad temper. I’m sure Stortini didn’t have the full scouting report on every training camp player that showed up in Hypothermia Point (the underground nickname for Winnipeg’s training camp), but I’m pleased with the results nonetheless. Add to this, Barry Trotz is old school and LOVES these the gritty, Jerred Smithson types. We’ll see how this regular season pans out. However, it’s hard to say he didn’t leave the folks who attended the game and the older hockey fans in the crowd impressed with his efforts. Stortini made a compelling case between driving the net, a good fight against Chris Thorburn, and a savvy penalty draw. Whether or not he wears the fangs on opening night over guys like Chris Mueller, and other prospects… time will tell.