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10-05-2003, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Smail
Actually Higgins was the BEST defensive player on the WJC-20 USA team. He was also used in every aspect of the game on his NCAA team. The biggest flaw in his game is that he's not forechecking enough yet. Maybe Montreal wants to keep him and develop that aspect of his game?
Higgins was a good NCAA defensive forward. I should know as I had Yale season tix last year. But he was on a dominant line which had possession of the puck most of the time he was out there. On the PK, he was solid but his strengths were as an aggressive PKer who could turn any soft pass into a SH breakaway. That was NCAA, this isn't.

Not forechecking? What do you expect with linemates like Blouin, etc.? Forechecking is all about decision making. Pressure when your teammates are in a position to take advantage, don't get yourself caught when the other team has the time and space to take advantage. Put him on a forechecking line and you'd see the difference.

What worries me is the expectation that this kid will be Peca this year when his game has never been anything like Peca's. That would have 18-20 points and -25 written all over it. And the comparisons to Chouinard and the boos wouldn't be far behind. Perfect way to screw up a top prospect. Fortunately, I don't think that is what the brass will do. Higgins is going to and should stay in Hamilton until a 2nd line spot opens that he is good enough to fit into.

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