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04-05-2011, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Ola View Post
At a intense place like this, when we question every move and any player, kid or not, often is not better then his last shift -- I think its fair to point out that Derek Stepan definitely has not been for 78 games this season. He has had a whole bunch of quite games. He has had a whole bunch of sub-par defensive games to be honest too. Not in a negative way, but compared to the avg. NHL center Stepan has not been above avg defensively 78 games this season.

My point is, we have afforded to give this kids time during some ups and downs this season. We have also given him a good environment to play in on many nights.

So often we see kids come in, and they are not given a good environment to play in -- and we do not have time to let them grow in that role. Like Del Zotto for example. We couldn't give him a break on the PP-blue line, he was thrown out there night after night after night. Like Zucc, who definitely would have been well served by having a big center with good defensive abilities, and a strong winger on his line, got to play on a line with a not-so big offensiveminded rookie center (who while not exposed defensively on the avg night, certainly isn't well equipped to cover for others defensively either) and a LW that would not back-check in WW for long stretches.

Stepan is a great story and is part of the future of this team, but I hope the brass of this team do not go thinking "hey Stepan made it why can not these kids do it? Lets deal them.", he also shows how much there is to gain in being able to give a kid a good environment to grow in.
This is a great post Ola.

If this were a few years ago I'd sweat Stepan's development. But I think the NYR have done a great job of sending kids down when they needed it. Del Zotto, Zucc are great examples of guys that needed/need some more time in HFD.

I think it's great that we have enough depth to do this without hurting the big club and doing what they see as the best for each player.

Clearly earlier this year we saw what great work they have been doing down in HFD as the kids that came up didn't miss a beat.

Stepan, first and foremost is a rookie. He is going to have ups and downs, it happens. But it's how he reacts and how the NYR have worked with him thru the year that has me hoping that this kid will be a solid player for years to come.

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