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06-30-2010, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Blind Gardien View Post
Montreal is a place where some relatively harmless immaturity can really grow legs and sprint. Despite everybody trashing Sergei as worthless, 68 points in 158 games on a player just turned 23 is pretty good stuff. And Sergei isn't just a floaty offensive guy either, he plays with the same chip on his shoulder on the ice that gets him into trouble off it, he'll hit and even fight, he has shown he can be a PK player down the road.

It's funny how things have ballooned out of all proportion on him in the past 18 months or so. We never talk about it anymore, but back when he was ripping it up in London, it was all sunshine and lollipops and there were articles about how Sergei was loved by his teammates, how he was such a personable guy, how he was so appreciated for his two-way play despite the big numbers, etc.

But there's a flip side to being a star player in London too. A guy like Sergei coming from a pretty well-off background, not a lot of good players in Belarus, on to London where the stars were getting 30 minutes and encouraged to run up scores and pad personal stats and have less accountability maybe than in some other systems... straight onto the Habs as a 20-year old with only a brief two-month apprenticeship in the minors... it's not exactly the path that too many kids get exposed to on their way up. Most have to battle through more adversity.

Sergei really could have been playing top-6 in the NHL the last couple years. He has the talent, and he's ready to explode. But he just didn't get a chance to settle in to a rhythm with the Habs. Not a lot of young players get that chance, however. Sergei was accustomed to skipping grades, however, and he wasn't equipped to deal with being set back onto the "normal" path for a young forward in the NHL. His immaturity has cost him. The kicker is that he really is good enough to play... he knows it, we know it, but he just didn't have the humility/maturity to put his nose to the grindstone and accept NHL justice.

I don't know how to expect him to suddenly mature more, or to think that Trotz is the guy to give him the free passes that he seems to need. But he's a good player, and if either or both sides can move to the middle to some degree, the Preds are going to get a good player out of the deal, I believe.
I agree with most of what you say. But as for his easy time in London? Dale Hunter gives top players a lot of minutes, that is for sure. But those minutes have to be earned. There are no "free passes". Hunter insisted that the players keep there foot on the gas. So what you called padding stats was actually hard work. So when David Bolland was suspended in the playoffs, it was SK who stepped up and became a scorer, finishing 2nd in the OHL scoring race that year. You don't get that through free passes or entitlement.

As for skipping grades? SK was drafted by Montreal before going to the CHL. So he could have gone to the AHL as a 19 year old. Montreal wanted him to go back to London for a second year, which he did. His stay in the AHL was short the next year, but he earned a promotion with his play. No free pass there either. He had a good first year in Montreal

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