Even though the Amerks put forth their best lineup of the year Wednesday night in Buffalo, fans were still left wanting more. The return of Bailey, Baptiste, and Rodrigues was tarnished by a lack of effort and an All Star game feel. Thankfully the backbone of the Amerks this year (Linus Ullmark) stood strong with 39 saves. Karabacek also played well extending his goal scoring streak.
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 (shot-pass) 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.
Lets Go Amerks contributor Dennis Allen Jr. will be posting a scouting report on a different player each home game (and the odd road game) he attends. You can see his previous scouting reports at: http://rocscouting.blogspot.com …… and be sure to follow him @RocScout14