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05-05-2004, 02:10 PM
Guy LaFleur
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Newfoundland
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Guys, let's not forget that despite his skill, Kastsitsyn's a youngster in every sense of the word. He hasn't even played in North America yet, let alone had success on a higher level. He hasn't even gotten the ice time in Russia to develop, which is hurting his chances of even making training camp. I say we put him in Hamilton on the first line, put Perez on his line (That is, providing Perez isn't suspended for a good chunk of the year), and let them develop some chemistry. Given that they're both Russians, Kastsitsyn shouldn't have too many problems getting to know some of the guys we've got in the dressing room.

If he seems to do well in Hamilton, give him a temporary raise to see what he can do in the NHL. Put him with Kovalev, with Saks centering them. If he still does well, I like the idea of Zednik-Ribs-Ryder for a secnod pairing.

Of course, if he doesn't do well, which he probably won't, send him back down to Hamilton. Keep Perez down there until we're clear on Kastsitsyn's status with the organization. If Kastsitsyn is ready for NHL action, bring the two of them up. If Zeddy-Saks-Kovi is going, have Perez-Plekanec-Kastsityn for a third line. I think it could be excellent.

But again, our youth and inexperience could present problems come playoff time, if we're in the hunt again, which I think we will be.

I also like the idea of giving Benoit Gratton an opportunity to come up and play with the big club. He's had his share of injury troubles, but so has Souray and he's get 25 minutes a night.

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