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11-27-2004, 08:48 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,349
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Originally Posted by Jester
i'm not "ragging" on him because of his size, but he isn't going to be a #1 center at the NHL level... and size is pretty much the reason. it is VERY difficult to play at the #1 center level as a small player. defensemen are simply too big, and the rules aren't enforced in a way that a smaller player can move around them with quickness, etc. to gain an advantage on them, unless they have somewhat unmatcheable speed/stickhandling... which none of the reports suggest Richards has.

look around the league at the centers that are performing well... they are either big boys, or absolute burners... or you got a guy like Sakic who has one of the greatest wrist-shots in the history of the league... not sure Richards falls into those categories.

i hope i'm wrong though... i hope both Carter and Richards turn out to be #1 center talent, would be nice to have a Tampa-esque situation here so that they can feel my fear whenever our top two lines are out on the ice.
There are a few points I need to disagree with. First, Ottawa's top centerman isn't the biggest or fastest in the world. And come to think of it, Todd White was a former Flyers prospect as well. I think sometimes people over value having a 6'4 200+ pound centerman as their number one anyways. If you take a look around the league, those centerman are becoming a rarity as being number one. There will always be a roster spot for a big centerman, but they are no longer the be all and end all that they used to be.

In Detroit, Steve Yzerman was a number one for years and Richards is about the same size and probably as fast as Stevie was. I'd even go on to say that Richards is probably about the same size as Datsyuk. Datsyuk is a good skater, but he isn't the biggest player in the world. You can then take a look in Colorado and see that Sakic and Forsberg weren't the biggest either. We can then go to Vancouver where the biggest centerman works the third and fourth lines and the top two lines are manned by centerman who are 6' 190 pounds. Not bruisers by any stretch. We go to Edmonton where the previous centermen weren't 6'3+ behemoths. Same in Montreal. Same in Calgary. Same in Buffalo. Same in Phoenix.

I'm just trying to say that I think the organization may under value Richards' ability if all what they'll have him do is play a defensive role and work on the penalty kill. It's a waste if they are just going to limit him to that (which is probably what Hitch will do).

I'd like to think that after playing and getting beat by Tampa Bay, this organization realizes that having two offensively gifted centermen isn't a bad thing. And people can say what they want about Tampa Bay and being a good defensive team, but their bread and butter is offense, offense, offense. I'd like to see our team move in that direction.

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