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06-09-2009, 07:37 PM
Genghis Keon
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Originally Posted by CraigDarby View Post
Leblanc's decision to go to Harvard turns me off of him completely. You need to play with the best to be the best.
Talent is still talent. The guy went straight from playing Midget (playing against comparatively low competition) hockey to being one of the top guys on Canada's "A" U18 team (playing with the best Canada had to offer). Gretzky only played one year of junior hockey before moving on to the bigger challenge of the WHA, but Lemieux and Crosby were unarguably over and beyond QMJHL hockey before their draft years (especially Lemieux in his third year in the league), but they turned out okay. Theoretically, maybe both would have developed better playing pro hockey in their draft years, but, as I said, talent is talent and they turned out okay. I don't think high school hockey is what made Tom Barrasso a Calder and Vezina winner a year later either.

Sure, Leblanc would be better refined playing in the CCHA or WCHA, but if he doesn't have natural finish, for example, playing in either of those Conferences isn't going to magically give it to him, just like a Chris Higgins wouldn't magically have a better finishing touch if he played for the University of Michigan instead of Yale. It would have developed his game better, playing against better competition, but wouldn't have given him anything he doesn't have.

And I think the competition he'll be playing with and against with Harvard is still a step above what he faced this past year in the USHL, so while he won't be playing with and against the best he could be playing with and against, it will still be a step up. It's not like he's going to be playing rec hockey or is going to be taking a step down in competition.

In sum, yes I think he'd be better served playing in a tougher Conference with a more proven program, but I hardly think playing in Harvard is career suicide or the be all and end all. His future is in his hands; it's not dependent on the league in which he plays.

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