While the end result wasn't what they were aiming for, the T-Birds performance on opening night in Everett has to leave you with a taste of optimism in your mouth. Seattle did a lot of good things despite the, 4-3, setback. Many of those things they did are things that the coaches have been preaching throughout camp and the preseason. I know it's only one game but the effort was a carry over from a lot of the good habits learned in the exhibition games.
Again though, after just a 19 win campaign a season ago, the T-Birds are not looking for moral victories. They were 38 seconds away from earning at least a road point against a division rival and made a cardinal blunder that led to their defeat. I can live with the failure to score on the five minute power play because they were creating chances; Luke Lockhart was on the doorstep with the puck twice and couldn't get it in. But you have to clean up the mistakes in your own zone. Failure to do that on so many occasions last season led to disastrous results and it reared its head again last night. Now, I'll barely tolerate it on opening night but if the same issues are popping up in game 35 then there's a problem. But I have a feeling, as this team plays more and more together, this won't be a chronic issue like it was a year ago.
Speaking of Luke Lockhart, I've always liked his play. He gives maximum effort every shift. He has an enthusiasm and frantic pace on the ice that reminds me a bit of Aaron Gagnon. But what I saw in preseason and in the first game is a player who has taken a giant step forward in his development. He and Charles Wells were relentless all night on the forecheck. In fact I can't single out one player who had an off night. Even Jacob Doty did a nice job to create a Seattle power play by forcing an Everett penalty. I have no problem right now forecasting 25-plus goals for Luke.
So, even though it was a loss on the scoresheet their were a number of small victories for Seattle. They didn't erase the big ghost from a season ago (snatching defeat from the jaws of victory) but they eliminated a lot of small ones (for example, they only allowed 28 shots against).
Anyone who takes this team lightly this season does so at their own peril. This team is going to compete.