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10-26-2008, 01:22 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Originally Posted by Nobak View Post
This is the part I'm intrigued about. We have a few people agreeing O'Byrne has sucked. But, although early against Buffalo I was watching him go and cringing, I've found him making quite a few defensive plays I found impressive since, more often than I've noticed bad plays from him.

Maybe it's just the way I watch the game. Maybe the things I tend to focus on turns my attention away from the type of mistake he's been making. But I'd like to know so I can look for it. What is he doing wrong that I'm not seeing?
I would agree on the defensive side of the puck he's played pretty well. He was terrible on both sides of the puck in the season opener, and he does have a tendency to get turned around in his own zone so he's scrambling more then any of the other defensemen, but for the most part, he's been able to not get burned very often as in leading to actual goals. It seems the majority around here grade defensemen as follows - did he make a glaring error that lead to a goal? BAD. Did he lay a good solid hit? GOOD. That's it.

Well, O'Byrne has not made plays that lead to goals, but he's also simply not playing the system the rest of the team plays.

Montreal is not a team that lugs the puck much on defense when even strength. They're also not a club that has defenseman throw the puck out of the zone. Each time they gain possesion in their zone, be a forward or defenseman, they make a very quick outlet pass to key the offense. Sometimes it's a big long stretch pass to take advantage of the fact the Montreal forward has a foot-speed advantage versus his defender, or sometimes it's quick outlet hitting a guy in stride who will in turn get it up the ice.

Watch Ryan O'Byrne. He doesn't do this. When he gets the puck, he usually throws it up ice to nobody in particular. He throws it off the glass and out into the neutral zone. Or he actually reverses the puck behind the net to his partner so he can make the outlet. All of these things either hand over the possession of the puck or neutralize Montreal's speed. (It also should be noted, that there are some teams in the league where this would be considered no problem at all. Before the lockout, there were usually at least three defenseman on every team in the league that did this. Instead of trying to make a play, they try to minimize mistakes and get the puck out of the zone. This is no longer how the Canadiens play.)

I'm interested to see how he plays first game back in the lineup because I'm sure he's had this drilled into his head: If you want to play here, play our system.

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