In a game tainted by a lack of overall team effort, newcomer Mat Bodie played solid. Even though the Amerks were shutout he was able to make a positive offensive impact, and defensively there were very few holes in this game. I’m going to rate his performance a P for passive.
Offensively, I thought he played a very conservative game. A great deal of that comes from the aggressive risk taking example set by Fedun. Instead of long stretch passes, Bodie made several quick, deliberate passes on the breakout. When he had the opportunity dump the puck or skate all the way into the zone, he opted for short passes to his wingers waiting on the blue line. For this reason, I was surprised he was chosen over Fedun to lead the breakout on the first power play unit. Once they got setup, he cycled the puck quickly and moved very well; but was not a threat to shoot. That theme continued throughout the night. From the point, he only made a few attempts to shoot the puck into traffic. Each time a defender blocked his shot before it could get close to the net. I think he has very good offensive instincts, but I would like to see him play more aggressively going forward.
Defensively, Bodie fit in very well during his first game. He used his speed to get into good positions on the opponent’s rush to poke away the puck. On two occasions he made great recoveries and dropped to his knees cutting off the passing lane. Unfortunately on the second, the forward was able to lift the puck over him and Ullmark into the corner of the net. My only concern for Bodie came after the Ice Caps established possession in the offensive zone. When forwards took up residency in front of Ullmark he was not physical enough to move them away. Instead they were able to set up screens and create deflections. Even though he wasn’t able to generate enough power to muscle opponents in open ice, he was able to use his body well along the wall. Behind his net he was much more scrappy and was able to separate his man from the puck.
Overall I think that Bodie is a fantastic addition to the roster. Instead of playing along side Fedun, I think Mat is better suited to play a similar role on the second power play unit. The powerful slap shot of Mullen was definitely missed on the first. If he is willing to take a few more chances shooting the puck I think Bodie can make a big impact in Rochester.