Utah Grizzlies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This weekend was really great. I went to the games in Colorado, got to meet a whole bunch of awesome Eagles fans, and see a new arena, which was tons of fun. The downside is that I didn’t have a lot of time to write. Given the quick turn-around with a game on Monday, we’re doing this a little differently.


On Friday night, the Grizzlies lost 7-3, giving up four power play goals, and generally playing badly. Kevin Carr was pulled to start the third in favour of Angus Redmond, which did nothing to stem the tide. To be fair to both goaltenders, the team in front of them gave them almost nothing to work with. However, Utah did get three even strength goals from Cliff Watson, Ryan Walters, and Greger Hanson.

On Saturday, the game was much better. Utah was engaged from start to finish, and Carr was absolutely sharp all night. It was an unfortunately familiar tale, however, when they fell 2-1 in OT.

The Good

  • Jon Puskar is back, and it took him no time at all to start putting up points. He has an assist in each of his two games back. His speed also made a difference a number of times over the weekend.
  • The first line seems to have heated up again, with seven points in the two games, Greger Hanson scoring once, and Ryan Walters scoring twice. If they can keep rolling, that’ll be huge.
  • Whether it was the return of Travis Howe to the lineup, the resurgence of the first line, the reuniting of Brendan and the Ryans, or just general motivation following a lousy outing, Saturday’s game was far better than Friday’s in terms of team play.
  • Taylor Richart and Cliff Watson lead the charge in goal-scoring on the Grizzlies. Richart has seven goals, and Watson is tied with Pelech and Hanson with six.

The Bad

  • Richart and Watson lead the the Grizzlies in goal scoring. Obviously it’s not a bad thing that they’ve scored so many goals. What is troubling, however, is that Utah has continued to have to rely on them for so much of the offensive heavy lifting.
  • On Friday, the scratches of Brad Navin, Zach Saar, and Travis Howe, as well as the return of Puskar, meant that the lines got shaken up again, and turned in what may have been the least cohesive performance we’ve seen from them all year.

The Ugly

  • The usually terrific Grizzlies’ penalty kill gave up an abysmal four goals on Friday. Fortunately, they returned to form on Saturday, giving up only 1/8. Hopefully it was a statistical anomaly, and can be ignored…
  • Brendan Harms went down early in the second period on Saturday, and had to be helped of the ice. Unsurprisingly, heĀ  didn’t finish the game. Here’s to hoping it wasn’t anything serious.


Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard, Jess Fleming, and staff

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