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05-05-2009, 10:42 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Country: Kazakhstan
Posts: 231
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Room For Improvement

What does this team need?.....(and what can it realistically do about it?)

You could make the arguement that it's in fact NOTHING and I would understand and hope that you're correct. In fact I know I'm being a little nitpicky even bringing up this subject, but most would agree that we have reached the level where we don't need drastic changes.

Its easy to say we could use a Pronger on D or the generic "we need more toughness."

Having said that, I'm realizing more and more just how precious a combo it is to have skilled players who are also tough. It is obvioulsly harder to find skilled players, which is why someone like Fleischmann has made the cut. I'm not advocating that we replace or trade him for a marginally skilled player with more grit. Still it's hard for me to watch basic yet crucial things such as not quite getting the puck out of the defensive zone due to being outmuscled or not putting a body on people in front of our goalie.

There are varying degrees of toughness/grit, and understandably most people simply aren't AO, Mike Richards, Pronger, or Phaenuf. But in the playoffs when the game is really on the line, as cliched as it sounds, is when all the little things become more important than they were in the reg season. If your not gonna be physical at least be scrappy & defensively responsible like Backs and Federov.

I know I am preaching to the choir for the most part, but once your team accumulates enough skill and depth (ie Caps), maybe the final piece of our puzzle will be to toughen up.

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