Another player making a notable return was Buffalo native Tim Kennedy. Though effort was not an issue, Kennedy struggled to make an impact. With a man advantage, at even strength, and on the kill, every part of Kennedy's game was average. Fittingly, I will rate his performance a C.
On the power play Kennedy played a very minor role. He contributed nothing to zone entry, just waiting at the blue line for a dump. After the Amerks were set up, he assumed his position in the slot waiting for a deflection. Surrounded by Comets, the puck very rarely found his stick. He was able to redirect a shass from Fedun on the point; unfortunately, it ricocheted harmlessly into the chest of the waiting netminder. Kennedy was no doubt limited by the role he was called upon to play, but I would have liked to see him a bit more active on the boards. Personally I don't think he is the player most suited to a front-man role.
He was definitely much more comfortable on the kill. His strong work ethic and active stick make him a perfect fit. He worked tirelessly in the forechecking game making zone entry difficult. He also did a great job down cutting down shooting lanes and deflecting shots from the point. As a result the Comets went 0-4 on the power play.
At full strength Kennedy was much more underwhelming. While centering Dupuy and Karabacek he went 6 for 14 in the face off circle. Utica's first goal came on a draw he lost clean to the point. A shot was whipped in right away and caught a deflection to beat Ullmark. Even though the dump and chase style of hockey the Amerks play is a good fit for him, he wasn't able to dig picks out consistently. I think Lambert expected his line to ugly up the game rather than produce offensively. Had the top lines performed better, it would have been an effective strategy.
Overall Kennedy is a solid two way veteran presence. His strong work ethic sets the tone for the rest of the players in the organization. Most importantly, I feel he is proud to wear the Amerks crest. Hopefully his attitude can trickle into some of the young prospects within the organization.