Thread: Canucks Defence
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10-14-2003, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by nuckfan in TO
I don't blame him for his offensive style... I blame him for falling on his ass when he decides to play his offensive style... I blame him for putting the puck on the opposition's blade playing that style.

I agree he was not responsible for the loss against the Jackets... but he did give up the puck a few times in his first 3 games, and he did fall down more than a few times as well...

that's where I'm concerned with his play.... after watching him in the 2002 season, I was willing to let his bad play slide in 2003, thinking that he can get back his consistency from the year before... this season, I'm more skeptical of it...

its' not like I'm writing him off... I do believe that he will one day get his act in gear and be consistent on the back end... it happens to every young dman... the offense he brings though is something that usually doesn't surface later on in dmen's careers.... so I do think that Sopel is a valuable player - an above average offensive dman...

but my concern is that he needs to develop quickly now... I don't care if Sopel is a top notch dman when he's 30, we need him to be stable and effective right now, this season, and that's where my concern in his development comes in... I was hoping to see a more stable Sopel, and so far he hasn't shown it... albiet early, it's still discouraging to see the lack of progress into a new season.

I'm not about to give up on him, but his play so far, being just like it was last season during his struggles has got me concerned... he hasn't gotten the minuses yet because the team has been able to bail him out, but they won't be able to forever... nor should the team have to bail him out everytime.
this is where we disagree. I thought he played a strong 3rd game. Did he give the puck away? yeah, but so did every other dman including Salo... but Sopel was in position and where he was supposed to be in a lot of instances and he took away far more chances than he allowed. In fact, I don't see where Sopel is so far worse than any other dman on the Canucks right now factoring in giveaways and defensive positioning. I mean, if the team was able to bail out Sopel, how come they couldn't bail out Slegr?

the fact is, I'm confused by all this discussion with Sopel at all at this time. I don't feel he's a concern at all. I expect that he will make mistakes like every dman in the league and would need to have the goalie or team bail him out every now and then. I thought he had a good playoffs last season despite what people were saying about him. I thought he made a couple of mistakes so far in these 3 games, but has improved with every game. He played against the Iginla line a lot, Smyth line a lot, and the Cassels line a lot and all three lines were ineffective against the nucks. What more can you ask for?

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