Hitchcock and the Team
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12-06-2004, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: St. Andrews
A) Teams and Players ALWAYS step it up during the Playoffs. That is why the Playoffs are so friggin awesome. They cannot maintain that level of intensity through an 82 game schedule, they would be dead by the end of the season and go out in the first round. There isn't a single team in the NHL that makes the playoffs that doesn't play at a higher level in the playoffs, a fact that is witnessed EVERY year.
B) Zeus was our SECOND line center this year... not a defensive center, he just happens to play good defense. Primeau was and will remain the defensive match-up center becuase that is what he excels at. Zeus was paired with Rex and Leclair for most of the year, and prior to Zhamnov being in town that was our top-line.
C) Gagne will get his chance to play on the top-line this year, we will see what he does. However, to suggest that he was "going through the motions" while playing with Primeau is potentially the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. You CANNOT do that good a job of shutting down the best offensive hockey players in the world while "going through the motions." Defense is a lot harder to play than offense, and not that many people are all that good at defense... which is why Gagne had to take that role for us... who else on the team was going to take that wing position and play it effectively. Offer me a good option and I'll begin to consider your complaint.
D) Zhamnov was our best player in the Devils series... in fact, the Roenick/Zhamnov/Amonte line was incredible in that series. Zhamnov got hurt in the Toronto series and that was when his production dropped down some. Gagne had a great playoffs I thought, including the Game 6 OT goal. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE should have expected Amonte to be leading that team in the playoffs. Concussions? Primeau had one prior to the playoffs, as did Roenick... but Primeau didn't get a second one in the playoffs. Roenick was literally puking on the bench in game 6 of the Tampa series prior to going out and assisting on the OT goal.
E) Neither Radio or Sharp are going to be top-line players in the NHL. They don't have the offensive skills. If we are marching them out as our main scoring options, we won't be seeing the puck drop on the playoffs. It would be great if Sharp can develop into a solid second-line player -- probably on the wing -- and the same goes for Radio. I love the way Radio plays, but 40-50pts out of him would be a great season as far as I'm concerned.
Team has a lot of talent, and a lot of depth. However, they have a lot of talent and depth that is good at playing a solid two-way game. When 2 of your top 3 centers are Zeus and Primeau you are not talking about run and gun team. You are talking about a team that is going to be strong along the walls and strong defensively up the middle.
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