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08-18-2004, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Jester
Kapenen is better defensively, but Gagne isn't far behind and by the time he is Kapanen's age he will be better... defense gets better with age and he is still very young. I think you are overrating Stillman who, while a good player, isn't as good as his 80 pts suggest last year... He and Gagne are comparable offensively, and Gagne is a MUCH better defensive player(not a bad thing to have on a front-line that won't necessarily have the most defensivly minded players...)

as for Gagne disappointing, statistically hopefully because with Kapanen and Primeau he's one of our most important players... he was absolutely awesome for this team last year, doing exactly what was asked of him. Gagne's "problem" is that he is a great team player and when you ask him to get into a defensive role he takes that on without question.

as noted when given the opportunity, and asked to score, on the front-line he was putting up excellent numbers... i believe it was 40+ goal pace during the period he was with Zhamnov. He had a disappointing and injury plagued follow-up to his breakout year, but last year was a nice all around recovery, the disappointment that comes from his "statistical season" is misplaced because under hitchcock that is going to happen, especially when he asks you to play on a defense focused line.

ask Modano how much more he could have scored during his NHL career if Hitch hadn't gotten a hold of him and taught him to play an all-around game... Hitch has compared Gagne to Modano by the way, Gagne is a wing and not as big, so he won't score quite as much... but Gagne is a guy with the potential of getting 60+ pts and a +25 and up +/- in a given year and there aren't too many guys capable of that. Gagne's stats have also been hurt by the fact that he doesn't get nearly the PP time in the past couple of years that he is probably going to get this year with Rex, Amonte, and Leclair out of the way... also will help him pop out on the stat sheet more.

Gagne and Zeus are probably the two best all-around forwards we have on the team at the moment... if Sami ever can get back to the 30 goal range he was in with Carolina, he would easily be there... but he misses the net too much at the moment, and Primeau prior to the past playoffs wasn't finishing his opportunities with the consistency one would like(while obviously doing stellar work on the opponent's top line), hopefully he will continue the trend he set in the playoffs for us.

don't be too quick to bash Gagne is all i'm saying... and understand that he hasn't been scoring nearly as much mostly do to teams actually paying attention to him in their gameplans, as well as the center combinations he tends to be with, Primeau a lot, all of which hurt his stats.
People underrate Simon's playmaking ability also. He had over 30 assists last year and his line-mates combined for only 19 goals.

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