Editor's Note: Our roving Scottish correspondent article1 was at the Marlies-Bulldogs game in Scotland and gives us a first-hand account of the game.
Reimer was far and away The Marlies' best player. Good awareness of where the puck was, made a couple of nice kick saves and looked solid in the butterfly. He couldn't do anything about the goal he gave up. I dunno about his ability at the NHL level, but he looked capable of doing a job at the Ricoh.
Q: Hey Mikhail! How does it feel to be in Scotland?
A: I am little nervous, actually. My father, he major in Red Army. Very important man. In charge of attack codes in event there nuclear war. He say it not good idea to be here Tuesday afternoon. I very much hope plane home not delayed.
(I may have made some of that up.)
Stefanovich looked a bit lost. Didn't impact the game at all. Obviously, there's not much positive to say about the forwards when you lose a game 1-0 where the goalie's your best player and Andre Devaux gets tons of power play time. Dale Mitchell missed an open net in the second on a nice pass, but other than that there wasn't much in the way of good goal-scoring chances for the Marlies.
I'm pretty sure the squad was just numbered 1-35. There wasn't a number higher than Reimer's 34 out there.
We have Zambonis in Scotland. They just don't work properly. So hockey players end up milling around with the locals while water gets swept off the ice.
How do you say 'You should have kept your head up, you idiot' in French?
The Marlies spent the last 2 minutes on the power play - a full minute of which was 6-on-4 and got absolutely nothing going. They probably could have had this many players on the ice for all the difference it would have made.
I thought they were a bit slow in taking Reimer off, which seemed in keeping with the conservative coaching all night. They kept the same line combinations all night, there wasn't a specialised power play unit and the team as a whole took long shifts. It might be jsut cos it's their first game as a single squad, but it seemed odd to me, considering how difficult they found it to generate offence. Their best shots came from the blue line, they got hammered on faceoffs - which led to us being badly outshot - and there were a few bad turnovers at the Toronto blue line. One of which led to a period of sustained pressure capped with the goal.
This is about as close as we got to an outbreak of truculence. Anytime it looked like something was in danger of threatening to maybe start, the linesmen stepped in and stopped it escalating into being interesting. It got rather tedious.
I have no photos of the Bulldogs because, frankly, who cares? I'm led to believe that they're affiliated to the Canadiens, but the only people that I know have played for them are Mikhail Grabovski and Mike Komisarek. So I choose to believe that they're either a lost part of the Leafs organisation; or they used to be the Phoenix Coyotes.
Also, sorry about the blurry photos. I hope to have better on Saturday.