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03-27-2004, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Munchausen
This is something IMO that alot of fans fail to recognize when talking about prospects and the respective leagues they play in. Sometimes a player's game perceived as average translates admirably (see Ryder, Bergeron, etc.) to the next level, while others like Ward who can score at will in a slower league like the AHL find their skating deficencies (for example) keeping them from putting any kind of numbers. Sometimes it's the system, sometimes a player cannot adjust to the much quicker reaction time needed (see Dykhuis) and it can be a combinaison of multiple factors. Sometimes a player's amazing moves and flashes do not translate well at the NHL level and even though you see the talent, he seems to never put any kind of numbers all his career long. Other times, the player's deficiencies (like Ryder's foot speed) can be quite effectively overcomed with instincts and intelligent positioning. Whatever it is, it's always a mistake to assume a given player will change league and magically put numbers in the NHL just because he did where he played before (see Gratton).

In Ward's case, having seen him play all year long here and a good deal of games in the AHL too, I'd say his obvious lack of mobility is what's keeping him from producing offensively. He has decent speed straight ahead, good insctincts, sound defensive positioning and a keen work ethic, but the fact he almost needs to stop to change direction or he falls on his butt means he cannot beat ANYONE one-on-one in this league. That's probably also why he's always injured, being constantly off balance when falling or getting hit. And his hustle is no longer enough to put him in great scoring chances. Furthurmore, he seems to have the same problems at finishing Bulis does. I would hope management suggests him to train during summer to better his skating technics as right now, he'll never be more than a 3rd-4th liner with that kind of serious handicap. He needs to learn how to skate and move properly on the ice about as much as Ribeiro needs to gain 10-15 pounds of muscle mass.
Yes good post, I totally agree...

I could add that confidence is another factor too... As we saw Ward producing and feeling the net more when called up lately last year.. even if he was playing on the fouth line with Perreault and Dwyer, he was making things happen offensively and was an important factor on the ice... The guy was on fire in the AHL and he translated it in the NHL for a while... But this year is a totally different one for Ward, he makes the job done defensively but his flaws seem to catch him up... He is'nt strong on his skates, lack of balance, lack of quickness and some night I almost prefer to see Dackell in the line-up instead!

Hope kids like Perezhogin, Higgins, Plekanec will help him to regain his confidence next season!

Edit: lol great avatar by the way!

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