Thread: Peter Prucha
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07-24-2008, 12:47 PM
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Prucha's size...

is not his problem. In my opinion, it's so overblown and exaggerated. Being knocked down most often didn't affect his ability to finish the play. He got right back up and wasn't the last one back on defense (heck, at one point around January he led the team in +/- - a decent fact for a guy who didn't score much and whose line didn't score much which means he wasn't scored upon much and he wasn't going against fourth lines). He forechecked and actually created turnovers, even with that small frame. He got open.

His problem was his inability to adjust. When he scored 30 goals, 16 of them were on the PP. The other 14 at ES were aided by his ability on the PP because he got hot on the PP and that carried into other areas. On the PP, he was mostly stationary and put away one-timers, while occasionally digging after a puck and keeping it in. 68 games, 30 goals - not bad. Was there an issue with his size scoring those goals? No. Also note that his ES time was bounced around from the first to fourth line including extensive time with Betts.

Second season - 22 goals, full season and I think he had 8 PP goals. What happened? First, his PP time was cut for Shanny, and as such, you'd expect less PP goals and less overall goals (and if you believe that a goal scorer needs to be on the PP to keep in a rhythm, you'd expect him to struggle at ES). OK, so he has less time so he needs to find a way to keep his touch. He really didn't do that. He didn't adjust well to less time and less opportunities. But hey, is 22 goals for a kid who's not a top or second line and who was played inconsistently on a PP really that bad? Again, was size really a problem here?

Third season - forget the numbers because I don't remember. This is where he didn't adjust well. He couldn't sit by the goalie and wait for Jagr's pass because even when he played with Jagr on the PP for a dozen or so games, the pass didn't happen and he needed to adjust, but didn't. At even strength he had zero chemistry with his linemates. His style didn't mesh well with Drury (and Drury by that time looked like crap having spent the first 10-15% of the season playing nearly 25 minutes per game). He did improve his defense, getting back, but the one area he never improved was his puck-handling skills. Further, his shot went in the crapper. He always seemed to be in the wrong place and never adjusted well to his linemates.

Now why is that? Part of it is coaching - he did just fine with Dubi [and Cally I believe]. Part of it is Prucha is a one-dimensional player, and that's a player who has a decent shot. His puck-handling skills are poor and haven't improved from day one. His shot do go to the potty last season, which went downhill gradually throughout; seemingly the guy was discouraged, as well as a lack of adjustment, which he needs to take blame for.

Can he play at his size? Absolutely. Can he play in this league? It has to be in the right situation. He can keep the puck in, but don't ask him to handle it. He can get off a shot, but he's not going to create that opportunity himself and his lineamates need to get him the puck. Can he still score PP goals? He really needs to do more than sit on the goalie's right and wait for the puck - but if you can get him the puck consitently, he'll put away more than his fair share. Is that opportunity here in NY? Not on Renney's team. He's looking for better puckhandlers, in my opinion, and I don't fault him for that - it's his team and he needs to feel comfortable. I do feel that while many players were given long leashes, Prucha was not. Everyone put it on Prucha, but he wasn't afforded opportunity after opportunity despite what he did for the Rangers that, say, a Hossa was afforded. I can't say why - perhaps Renney didn't think Prucha was the type of player he wanted, which, again, is just fine - it's his team and he's going to win and lose how he feels comfortable. I just think there is a place in the league for Prucha.

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