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10-05-2003, 03:38 AM
  #92
4hockey8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foppa2118
Since McAllister was a healthy scratch, I'd say he is a safe bet to make the team. Before I thought Smith was gonna get cut, but now I think it's gonna be McCormick. I don't think he takes a spot over Svatos, and nobody else deserves to lose a spot. Cummins is the spare foward, and Smith is the spare defensman, with McAllister being able to fill in for both roles depending on who's out, and how much toughness and size they need.(i.e. Worell being out.) I think Liles still makes it despite his slip in play the last couple games. I think Granato has been giving him lots of minutes, along with the other rookies, to see how he can play in every situation. Which is probably why Svatos was out on the penalty kill, and Morris wasn't getting that many minutes tonight, as some of the guys already mentioned. I read somewhere(I forgot where, maybe here) that Granato had been testing all the rookies, and had been putting them in all situations, almost to the extent where they would fail.

Here's how I see it....

Fowards:

Tanguay - Forsberg - Hejduk
Kariya - Sakic - Selane
Battaglia - Nikolishin - Svatos
Worrell - Hahl - Hinote

Ex. Foward - Cummins

Defenseman:

Morris - Foote
Skoula - Blake
Skrastins - Liles

Ex. Defenseman - McAllister, Smith

Those defensive pairings might not be applicable, since it sounds like(from what you guys said during the game) Granato and Cloutier might be carrying over the constant rotating of defensive pairings from last year. Which I'm not so sure is a good idea. I think it has it's bonuses, but the drawbacks in my opinion are too great. It seems to me like having the same partner for most of the season would make it easier on the defensman and their decision making, specifically in regards to their reaction time. For example a guy like Foote has said before that he needs a partner who is predictable so he knows what he is going to do all the time. Which is why he was never paired with Ozo, and was paired with De Vries so much. This applies to a lesser extant to all defensman. If Blakie sees an opportunity to pinch, he has to think for a second who he is with. If he's with Skoula or maybe Liles, it might be a bigger risk than if say, he's with Foote or Skrastins who might hang back more. Now this whole process might only take a split second, but hockey is the fastest game on earth, and it only takes a split second, and a little bit of hesitation for something to go wrong. Hockey players need to react, not think. And if a defensman knows what his partner is going to do, than this makes his decisions easier and quicker, and gives him that much needed confidence in his approach.
Foppa 2118 is dead on with his assessment of D-men needing to know what their partners are going to do. I have seen over the past years numerous games where the same guys played together at all levels. When that happens, it is readily apparent even from the stands that the comfort level allows the players to anticipate rather than react. This totally changes the player's opportunities. I can't believe that Granato doesn't understand this. The key issue for him is finding which pairings work the best for his 6 D and leave them there! I believe a great example of this is that Liles seemed to work most of the camp with Foote; when they played together in the intrasquad game, he seemed to anticipate what Foote was going to do or where he was going to be. That certainly didn't happen in the past couple of games paired with Morris.

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