Friday, December 21, 2012

United States defeat Sweden

Galchenyuk held pointless in 3-2 OT U.S. win.


1st period:
6 shifts, 4:15 TOI
He actually had 5 shifts, but was on the ice for 3 seconds before play stopped and he was changed quickly.

The breakdown is:
3:36 even strength
0:39 powerplay
0:00 penalty kill

I don't get why everyone was freaking out that he wasn't on the first wave of the PP. In the 39 seconds he got of PP time in the 1st, it was the first wave and it ended the period. Only other penalty to Sweden, Galchenyuk wasn't on the first wave but it ended soon enough after Murphy scored.

Other than that, he turned the puck over one in the offensive zone while trying to do it all by himself on a 1-on-4. He drop passed it but nobody was following behind him... or anywhere else for that matter. He also turned the puck over a second time while in the defensive zone, but the puck was recovered only once it had left the zone, which did not put the US at much risk of a goal against.

Galchenyuk also won the only face-off he took in the first, cleanly back to the point.


2nd period:
7 shifts, 6:37 TOI

The breakdown is:
2:43 even strength
3:54 power play (woah!)
0:00 penalty kill

First wave of the PP each time he got to work the power play, so no need to run around in a panic. He dazzled the crowd and us on HF with some fancy stick-handling. He beat two Swedish players once to get a shot on net and then did it again to register two shots. The second of those two shots was a beautiful, through the legs attempt. Galchenyuk finished the period off with FOUR shots on net, including a crash the net play after he took a pass from Lucia. Also important to know, he attempted three more shots but they were all blocked.

Galchenyuk added another giveaway to his game, after he attempted to make a pass to Murphy while they were both at the point on the PP. The pass was intercepted but no real chance came of it for the Swedes.

He added another clean face-off win in the 2nd, putting him at 2-for-2 on the night.


3rd period:
7 shifts, 4:48 TOI

The breakdown is:
2:50 even strength
1:24 power play
0:34 penalty kill

Important to note, he played only one quick shift of penalty kill because he was coming out of the box to turn a 5-on-3 into a 5-on-4. During the shift, he intercepted a pass at the point and cleared the puck out of the zone before heading off to make a change. That was Galchenyuk's only takeaway of the game and only PK shift of the game.

As mentioned above, he was in the penalty box. A rather uncharacteristic penalty for Galchenyuk as he took the body and then threw the arm out the hold the player and bring him down. The penalty came just five seconds into his second shift of the period.

Galchenyuk played just one PP shift in the 3rd but it was a long one. 1:48 total during the shift and 1:24 of that shift was on the PP. Sweden ended up taking another penalty shortly after but Galchenyuk did not see any time on that one, as he was likely being rested after a near two minute shift. This PP and the first one in the 1st period were the only PPs where Galchenyuk did not play on the first wave. Just in case I haven't stressed it enough already.

Galchenyuk went 1-for-2 in the face-off circle in the 3rd, both of which took place in the defensive zone. The total brought him up to 3-for-4 on the night, good for 75.0% efficiency. Not too shabby, but these are numbers I'm used to seeing in the OHL.


1 shift, 0:51 TOI

The breakdown is:
0:51 even strength
0:00 power play
0:00 penalty kill

Galchenyuk got just one shift, registering a shot that almost beat the goaltender. He also turned over the puck once when he was checked into the boards, knocking him off the puck. The total brought him up to four turnovers, three of which took place in the offensive zone while the other took place in the defensive zone.

Galchenyuk also took just one face-off, winning it cleanly to his winger, who was stationed just outside the circle, behind Galchenyuk. The total for tonight was 4-for-5, boosting him up to 80.0% efficiency. Nice!

So... here's the totals!

21 shifts, 16:31 TOI
IMPORTANT TO KNOW! Galchenyuk played only 34 seconds of PK, so that explains his shortened ice time. Also, they need to make some cuts so they were likely running all lines and monitoring certain players.

Breakdown for the entire game:
10:00 even strength
5:57 power play
0:34 penalty kill

Other stats;
8 attempted shots, 5 shots on net, 3 blocked
4 giveaways, 3 offensive zone, 1 defensive zone
1 takeaway, defensive zone - on the penalty kill
4-for-5 in the face-off circle (80.0%)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Galchenyuk scores, Sting win 3-2!

December 2nd, 2012

Sarnia Sting defeat Oshawa Generals 3-2

Alex Galchenyuk
- 1 goal (1st period)
- Even rating
- 3 turnovers (1-1st period, 2-3rd period)
- 1 takeaway (3rd period)
- 4-for-5 for face-offs (80.0%)
Clean win - won it back to the point (1st period)
Clean win - won it back to the point (2nd period)
Clean win - won it to winger (2nd period)
Struggle win - batted it away and knocked the puck off the linesmen, which ended up going to the point (3rd period)
Clean loss - puck went to opposing defenseman
Note: All face-offs we taken on the PP.
Time on ice
1st period: 9 shifts - 6:02 TOI
2nd period: 6 shifts - 5:00 TOI
3rd period: 8 shifts - 10:35 TOI
TOTALS: 23 shifts - 21:37 TOI
1st period: Galchenyuk got off to a pretty slow start in his first two shifts. He played well but his line was matched against the Jenner line, which meant a lot of defensive zone play. At some points, they had Galchenyuk's line pinned in their own end. In the first two minutes alone, Oshawa had registered six shots. Five minutes in though, it was Galchenyuk that put his team ahead 1-0, after taking a pass and one-timing it. After that, his line suffered more defensive zone play due to numerous turnovers at their own blue-line, including a pass attempt by Galchenyuk. For the remainder of the period, Gally worked the second wave of the PK unit as Reid Boucher took a few undisciplined penalties, forcing Sarnia to play shorthanded for most of the second half of the period. Galchenyuk had a harder time covering the passing lanes, something he did extremely effective the two nights before this game. He did put tons of pressure on the puck carrier though and took care of any chance of a point shot, which is something we've all grown accustomed to seeing. He also got to take a face-off and won, something Habs fans love to see.
2nd period: With a 3-0 lead, it felt as if Sarnia was sitting back a bit, with their foot half-way on the gas pedal. It was more of the same in the 1st, as the penalty box continued to welcome Sting players. For the most part, Galchenyuk continued doing great PK work on the second wave with Latta. Shortly after jumping on the ice to kill another penalty, Sabourin shortened the lead to two when he beat Anderson. Galchenyuk did not have much time to set up his positioning and Oshawa caught Sarnia on a line change. He also saw some time on the 4-on-4 and cruised into the slot with the puck, but had his stick tied up before he could get his shot off. Late in the second, Galchenyuk had the puck on his stick and an open net to shoot at, but missed wide due to the angle he was shooting from. Galchenyuk also took two more face-offs that period, winning them both.
3rd period: A complete reversal of the first 40 minutes, Galchenyuk's first two shifts of the final period were over two minutes each, as he played the PP. He got a chance to take two face-offs during that time and went 1-for-2, bringing his total for the night to 4-for-5, good for 80.0%. It was Boone Jenner that would find the back of the net though, as he scored to keep his scoring streak of five games alive. Galchenyuk, who was on the ice, fumbled the puck - as did Sarault - and unfortunately saw it land perfectly on Jenner's stick. With the score so close, coach Beaulieu leaned on his first line to not only keep the lead, but increase it as well. Galchenyuk had a perfect chance to do so when he fed Sarault from behind the net with a beautiful backhanded no-looker. Sarault was stopped. In the final few minutes, Oshawa pressed on and had the Galchenyuk line often pinned in their own end. Galchenyuk had a glorious chance to end the pressure when he had the puck on his stick and an open net to shoot at, but his shot was blocked with a stick.
Final word
Definitely a tougher game for Sarnia, prior to the last two games, but they held their own. Galchenyuk may not have been the beast of a point-getter as we've seen him before, but I believe we saw a lot of good out of him, in terms of other aspects of his game. For one, Habs fans have been begging to see Galchenyuk take more face-offs. He took five and won four, so that is a great positive. I need to note though, Galchenyuk may have taken some face-offs but when he did, he immediately converted back to his wing position. Perhaps coach Beaulieu doesn't want to give full back-checking responsibilities to Galchenyuk because of his knee injury from last season. I also enjoyed watching his defensive side come out, especially while playing the neutral zone trap. He pressured the puck carrier at all times, staying side-by-side and using his body along the boards. In all, it was a solid effort for Galchenyuk, more defensively than offensively.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Galchenyuk scores three, adds an assist.

December 1st, 2012
Sarnia Sting defeat the Peterborough Petes 5-2

Alex Galchenyuk
- 3 goals (1-1st period, 1-2nd period, 1-3rd period)
- 1 assist (1-3rd period)
- +3 rating

- 1 turnovers (1-1st period)
- 4 takeaways (2-1st period, 2-2nd period)

- Did not take any face-offs tonight. Lined up for one in the 1st, but was tossed from the circle.

Time on ice
1st period; 8 shifts - 7:41 TOI
2nd period; 7 shifts - 7:23 TOI
3rd period; 9 shifts - 7:08 TOI
TOTALS; 24 shifts - 22:12 TOI

1st period: On just his second shift, Galchenyuk opened the scoring after sneakily stealing the puck from the defender, cruising into the slot and firing a wrist shot five-hole. Had some time on the PP and PK, but proved to be ineffective during both in the period, giving up a goal on the PK and also turning the puck over while on the PP. Galchenyuk had moments where he could have added a few more assists, setting up Boucher for shots in the slot, but passes either went wide or bobbled on Boucher's stick. Something I do like of his game, even if they gave up a PP goal, is the way he protects the point shot by taking away the passing lane between the defense and the winger on his side. Always alert and in perfect position.

2nd period: Galchenyuk put his defensive work to the test in the 2nd when he played quite a lot of time on the PK. In two shifts, Galchenyuk stole the puck twice. Once, it led to a quality scoring chance when he got the puck out in front and fed Latta for a one-timer in the slot. However, the shot went wide. Galchenyuk also had a chance to score again, but his back-hand attempt was stopped. Had he lifted it just a little bit, the puck would have been in the back of the net. Late in the period, while on the powerplay, Galchenyuk picked up his second of the night and 18th of the season on his second shot of the period.

3rd period: The Galchenyuk line played pretty conservative to start the period off. They gained the blue line and would fire shots from the perimeter, with not much chance of scoring a goal. Once the Petes scored to bring the lead down to a goal, Galchenyuk's line went right back to work. Just a minute after the Petes goal, Galchenyuk went back to work as he stick-handled the puck near the side board before firing a slick pass to Boucher, who made no mistake about it, burying his 21st of the season. As the period was drawing to a close, the Petes pulled  their goaltender only to see Galchenyuk notch his 3rd of the night and 19th of the season. Sarault made a very unselfish play, sending the puck to Galchenyuk in front of the net, instead of firing the puck in himself.

Final word
Galchenyuk started off the month of December on a very high note. His four point night tonight brings him to 3rd in the OHL scoring race with 48 points, just one behind London Knight's Seth Griffith. Galchenyuk may be raking up the points against bottom-dwelling teams like Peterborough and Saginaw, but it's the play without the puck that has really been fascinating me over the last few games. While defending in his own end, Galchenyuk always knows where he needs to be and very rarely leaves the passing lane open for a point shot. His stick work is phenomenal when retrieving the puck out of corners and his use of the body to separate the player from the puck is very good as well. Also, a few times tonight, I saw him communicating constantly with the defensemen while he was pitching down low, which is a great sign of leadership.

I was a bit disappointed with the lack of face-offs tonight. He did line up once, but unfortunately was thrown out. I thought he would get a few chances while on the PK, but Beaulieu opted to pair him with Latta, and have Latta work the face-offs. It paid off in the end, as Latta won the majority of his draws, one leading to a scoring chance after an offensive zone draw.

Galchenyuk's work with the puck... well, what else is needed to be said? There are times where he ran into a bit of trouble, holding on the puck for a little too long and turning it over but for the most part, he was great. Even with little room, he manages to bounce the puck off the boards and get himself out of pressure. He also knows how to open up passing lanes, drawing players to double team him before passing to the point. His shot is, as we all know, a beautiful one but his playmaking ability has also been put on spotlight over the last few months. Another thing that brings a smile to my face is the way he can control a puck when it's bouncing on his stick. A few times tonight, the puck hobbled on his stick and he simply batted it down and gained complete control. That kind of discipline is something you see in the NHL. Such focus is something we rarely see in the OHL.

Is he NHL ready? I'm still skeptic. I won't right it off completely, but I want to see how his season with the Sting ends before giving my judgment. At this point, I think a stint with the Bulldogs would benefit him greatly next year.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Galchenyuk scores, adds 3 assists in 8-2 Sarnia win over Peterborough.

November 24th, 2012
Sarnia Sting defeat Peterborough Petes 8-2

Galchenyuk, Alex
- 1 goal (1st period)
- 3 assists (1-1st period, 1-2nd period, 1-3rd period)
- +3 rating

- 3 turnovers (3-1st period)
- 3 takeaways (2-2nd period, 1-3rd period)
- 2 PIM (slashing) (3rd period)

- 1-for-2 for face-offs (50%)
Clean win - taken on the PK (1st period)
Clean loss - taken on the PP (1st period)

Time on ice
1st period; 7 shifts - 8:39 TOI
2nd period; 6 shifts - 6:45 TOI
3rd period; 5 shifts - 2:30 TOI
TOTALS; 18 shifts - 17:54 TOI

1st period: Galchenyuk, along with Sarault and Boucher, were all on fire. You could tell after last night's tough loss, he was going to come back with a strong outing. Just past the first minute of the game, Galchenyuk managed a quick deke past a defender and launched a backhander right into the back of the net, going roof on Petes' goaltender, D'Agostini. 12:39 into the same period, Galchenyuk fed Sarault with a beautiful cross-crease pass to give the Sting a 2-0 lead. His vision and IQ with the puck are both outstanding and a sight to watch. His explosiveness - which is deemed his weakness - doesn't show for the most part and he hides it well with a good first step and his agility. Galchenyuk also got to take two face-offs, winning one of them.

2nd period: Galchenyuk picked up another assist, 24 seconds into the second period when Boucher buried a slapshot to give the Sting a 4-0 lead. At this point, Beaulieu used the Sarault line very sparsely, as he was not too worried about losing a 4-0 lead. Especially not when that lead went from 4 goals to 6, with the Sting scoring twice in the span of 22 seconds. I honestly love Galchenyuk's work on the wing, especially when he's flying down the side with the puck. However, the defensive side of his game is beautiful when he is at the centre position. On the penalty kill, you can see how well he works at cutting the passing lanes between the blue-line and the side boards. I think if Beaulieu can give more of a chance to allow Galchenyuk to play centre during 5-on-5 play, we may see a more two-way Galchenyuk. Perhaps a Boucher-Galchenyuk-Goldobin line would be a possibility. With Sarault notching five points, it may be just a possibility to the fans.

3rd period: If you were hoping to see Galchenyuk as much as you did in the 1st and 2nd, you were surely disappointed. Only playing five shifts - two of those which were a combined total of 28 seconds - Galchenyuk saw 2:30. In that time, he did pick up an assist on Reid Boucher's second goal of the night. From that point on, Beaulieu gave more of a chance to the young guys to get some time on the specialty units.

Final word
Obviously, I would love to see Galchenyuk play his natural position and get a chance to take more face-offs, as well as excel at the position that Habs fans have him pegged in once he makes it to the NHL. The only problem is, coach Beaulieu is not thinking about that. His mind is set on winning right now and Galchenyuk's work along the boards in the offensive zone, as well as his cycling game in the corners and the bottom face-off circle, is among the best in the OHL. The room he is given, in his position at wing, allows him to create chances to pass through the slot or to the blue-line, something Beaulieu treasures greatly. I've had the chance to see him get a few shifts at centre on the PP over the last few weeks, and ultimately I found him to be more comfortable working the low boards and corners then the slot and crease areas. That's not to say he doesn't like to go to the dirty areas, but he excels at wing given the fact that he has incredible passing ability as well as a wicked wrist shot, which he can both utilize while coming out of corners with the puck.

I believe we'll see Alex play centre more. Maybe not in the OHL though, which is why I constantly stress to give him more time to develop before making the jump to the NHL. For the most part, I don't see him playing with the Canadiens this year, should the lock-out end, nor do I see him there next year. I have hopes that he'll get a chance to develop his centre play and face-off skill in the AHL next year. If he tears it up and clearly looks ready, great, then give him the chance. I do believe, in my honest opinion though, he'll benefit from a full year in the AHL. Then, the following season, Montreal may have the #1 centre they've been looking for.

For some highlights, including Galchenyuk's nasty backhand goal, check out the highlights here;