Generals and Majors

Got into Toronto around noon today, and then met The Washington Times’ Corey Masisak for lunch. We ate at a nice spot we discovered here a few weeks ago, good place to watch football. Around 4 p.m., Ron Weber and Carter Myers stopped by to pick us up and we set out for Oshawa where the Generals were hosting the Peterborough Petes in the second half of a back-to-back home-and-home set. Oshawa prevailed by a 4-1 count, and we saw a terrific game.

Obviously some bad blood carried over from Saturday night’s tilt, because the gloves came off just six seconds into the contest. The bout featured Peterborough’s Kenzie Sheppard and Oshawa’s Shea Kewin. Barely half a minute later, another scrap started between two defensemen, guys who were literally more than a zone apart when the puck was dropped for a face-off, but whose gloves hit the ice mere nanoseconds after the puck did. Peterborough’s Bobby Davey and the Generals’ James DeLory hooked up in this one, and then the lads settled in to play some hockey. Some really good hockey. (There would be one more fight, and a total of seven major penalties in the game.)

There was a tremendous pace to this game, despite lots of penalties and some general chippiness. We got to see the highly touted John Tavares and were not disappointed, except for the fact that he was ejected for kneeing early in the third period. He is just a real smart player, a guy with a nose for the net who makes everyone on the ice better when he is out there. He circles the net like a piranha, and sometimes even sets up behind the net without the puck, coming around either side for a quick and sneaky deflection bid. Tavares is not the skater that players like Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are, but he gets where he needs to go without dificulty. We saw him net the game-tying goal — his league-leading 21st of the season — just seconds after Peterborough opened the scoring with a 5-on-3 goal early in the second. Tavares was given too muh time and space in the slot, and as soon as we saw the puck on his stick, we knew it would find the net. Tavares also nearly netted a 3-on-5 shorthanded strike. Ron commented that in all his years of broadcasting hockey games, he could count the number of 3-on-5 goals he called on one hand.

Later in the second, Tavares led a rush up ice and fed a perfect crossing pass to Brett MacLean, who drove the net and tapped it home for his 20th of the season. MacLean scored another goal later; he also has 21 on the season. Together, Tavares and MacLean have accounted for 42 of Oshawa’s 86 goals on the season.

Tavares’ ejection came for kneeing Sheppard. He also got a five-minute major, and we thought Sheppard might have sold it a bit. Sure enough, he was back out on the ice before the major penalty had expired. The near capacity crowd of 5,543 at General Motors Place greeted Sheppard with a loud and rousing chorus of boos every time he touched the puck for the rest of the night.

The game was a high energy, high intensity affair, and both sides had a lot of jump for a couple of clubs who have played a lot of hockey this weekend. For the Petes, defenseman Zach Bogosian impressed as did captain John Armstrong, who netted the Petes’ lone goal. Goalie Trevor Cann played well and couldn’t be faulted on any of the tallies. We wondered if Brett Theberge might be the son of former Cap Greg Theberge, and it turns out he is. So that was kind of cool.

Lots of Generals impressed. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto played well and displayed good offensive instincts and puck skills. More than once we watched him effortlessly shovel off a sharp outlet pass — backhanded. Dale Mitchell had three assists, was usually the first guy in on the forecheck and played at top speed all night. Lots of effort and hustle from that kid. MacLean was terrific and I thought Eric Regan was a pretty good puck-moving d-man in his own right. The kid I might have enjoyed watching the most was a smallish center named Kory Nagy. He was just tremendous in the face-off circle, on the penalty kill and down low in both ends of the ice. At one point, Nagy was on the ice killing off an Oshawa penalty. He was behind the Peterborough net when he lost his stick. No matter, he merely used his legs to play keep away from three (seriously) Petes for another 10 seconds or so. Unreal. I couldn’t get anough of watching this kid, and was stunned to learn he has just one goal and 13 points in 100 career OHL games. He had no points on this night either, but the alert media types recognized Nagy with the third star designation.

We had a terrific time, and it dawned on me while we were driving that between the four of us, we’ve likely seen about 99% of all the Caps games ever played. If Corey stays on the beat for as long as his predecessor did, we’ll have covered about six decades worth of Caps hockey before it’s all said and done.

Thanks to Carter for the great idea and the driving, to all three of my viewing companions for the great company during the game and especially to the Generals’ Roger Lajoie for setting us up with credentials.

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7 Comments on “Generals and Majors”

  1. […] for the ceremony, and not surprisingly, he’s merged business with pleasure, having already filed some thoughts on an OHL game he took in with Ron Weber and the Times’ Corey Masisak this weekend, which […]

  2. pepper Says:

    Roger Lajoie has a regular show on the Fan 590 in Toronto, which is always available streaming online. Its worth a listen for its frequent

  3. pepper Says:

    quality hockey talk.

  4. TN Says:

    It is nice to read positive hockey talk right now. This was a most enjoyable read. It is a joy to watch hockey played for the love of the game. With the lynch mob growing at home your thoughts are a welcome diversion. Thanks for the reminder of a few weeks back. I was reminded of the fun of the game in Toronto (my first trip), the good natured ribbing of the Leafs fans to those sporting Caps jerseys (I guess they used up all of their mercy on us as they had none for their team) and watching the highlights over and over after the game in the great little spot you mentioned (more fun than the football). Spending an incredible day in the HHOF, made more amazing by the fact that a good portion of the team showed up while we were there. We were so shocked we just stared at them like dopes! Since then things have been a little rocky, but the shining star of the game in Ottawa gave us a glimpse of what our team is capable of when everything clicks. This team, these players are, granted, a little wobbly in their execution thus far, however they are stalwart and unflappable in their committment. They are equally committed to what they give back to the community here. They could certainly use a few more stalwart and unflappable fans. We are so lucky to have hockey in our town!

  5. dumpnchase Says:

    Thanks Pepper and TN.

    Glad you had fun at the hall TN, and it was nice to see you at the Moose up there as well. We went there twice on the just completed trip. Nice sentiments expressed above, too, we are lucky to have hockey in our town.

  6. Cleanfront Says:

    Nice article. Love the title, XTC reference?

  7. dumpnchase Says:

    Of course it’s an XTC reference. Sometimes, these things just fall into your lap.

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