Review of the play of the rookies tonight (I won't do this all year -- right now it's the most interesting though). Brett Sterling returned to a line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Todd White and saw time on the PP. He had about three scoring chances, so that's progress I suppose, but he squandered each one. They say that a player is contributing if the play doesn't die when the puck comes to him. Right now that means that Sterling isn't contributing though.
He had the same problems of chasing the puck and running questionable patterns during the breakout. If he would just get along the right wing wall, that would help (the wall is your friend since it will often return the puck to you). But right now no one is passing to Sterling because he's not in good place to receive a pass. Most of the time he is too far up. One time tonight McCarthy hit him on the tape in the neutral zone, but it bounced off his stick.
Sterling did stay on his point man on defense pretty well, I'll give him that. But his awareness wasn't there -- once the puck was at his feet on D and he had no idea. He also had no idea the first period was ending and changed with like two seconds left. On each of his scoring chance, he shot way wide or high. It wasn't even close.
This line, Kovalchuk, White and Sterling, tend to bunch up a lot on the left wing. All three players want to be there, tripping over each other. This was the least effective of the four lines tonight. Kovalchuk scored, but he did that himself by stripping the defenseman of the puck.
Bryan Little was on a line with Slava Kozlov and Eric Perrin (who replaced the injured Marian Hossa). He looked good again, simple but effective. Had a GA in the neutral zone and a chance late in the game.
Tobias Enstrom had a couple saves right in a row at the beginning of the second period where he swooped in and got the puck out of the crease. This is where he contributed the most tonight.
Changing gears, Scott Pearson filled in on the postgame show tonight. He was introduced as "former NHLer Scott Pearson" but some of those reading the blog will remember him as a player for the Chicago Wolves in the late 90's, or last year as a guest star with the Gladiators. The Glads were really short on bodies once in the middle of the season so he got called in. Didn't look too bad either, especially for someone who had been retired for five years.
A caller said to him "welcome to Atlanta" but he's actually lived here for some time now. He keeps in shape by playing in an invitation-only men's league (at the Cooler I believe).
Pearson was supposed to be the color guy on the show, but he was being very politically correct in his comments, to an extent that they weren't colorful at all. But if it was his first time on the radio, then he did well because he was smooth and had a reply to everything.