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10-16-2003, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Face Wash
With honorable mention kudos to Ziggy, Viz and Mo....

Eric Belanger has been an absolute STUD the first four games of this season.

No doubt Ziggy has been a phenom the last (over a) year... But the guy on the team I think who's made the greatest strides this season in my mind is EBel. The guy's been "special" in the first 4 games. His assertiveness has given the Kings another dangerous line in the offensive zone while still being huge defensively. Belanger was already one of the best faceoff guys in the league (37 for 62 = 59.7% this year so far). He was always our best two-way forward, generally playing against the other team's top line. But what has really surprised me is that he's "getting it" on the offensive end this season. He's more assertive, he's very aggressive and he's making even Lappy and Avery "dangerous" on the ice with his smart play.

The guy has a surprising amount of skill too. He's as good a power skater as the Kings have. The guy's really one of the best players on the team and it's very rewarding for the Kings and their fans to see a guy they drafted put it all together the way he's doing it.

He's becoming the King's answer to Jere Lehtinen.

We can only hope that his assertive and aggressive style might rub off on Frolov, who's in need of an "assertive play transplant".
i couldn't agree more... i always feel comfortable with belanger out there. he always gets a shot to generate some offense when he's killing penalties. and there are few centerman any team would want to have taking a defensive zone face-off ahead of eric. if he can remain healthy, and play a full season... i can really see him hitting 30 goals, and be considered a possible selke candidate. i am very bored with the whole "let's trade belanger and so & so for comrie to replace allison" notion. some people just won't understand his value until he becomes a UFA, and teams like dallas (tippett knows eric too well), philly (under hitchcock), minnesota (lemaire), or the devils (they're the devils!) jump all over him the hour he becomes available to them.
besides... i have continually and like a broken record have said, if we are to trade anyone... it's got to be cammy. he's our most tradeable asset. and i think both aulin and pirnes have a much better two way game and therefore, better suited to play murray's system of defensive responsibility. look at palffy... a good player who's become great! i haven't been able to remember anyone other than gretzky who's as good at stealing the puck as ziggy is.
vis... it's been a long time since i've seen a defenseman his size play as big as he's been playing... he didn't even shy away from chara, who was as tall as lubo when he hit him and fell to his knees.
the only concern i still have about modry, is his inability to hold the puck in the offensive zone during the power play. if he doesn't watch himself, gleason may end up replacing him as the QB. he pinches almost as well as blake does (which is who he really reminds of).
i'm still not a fan of corvo. even though he played a great game last night... arguably his best thus far.

i have to ask though... why the omission of stumpel by everyone? i feel he's been one of the three best players so far. he's gotten so much tougher, and the goal he scored was smooth. and the type of goal a center his size HAS to be able to score. it was all about his body position and strength. he plays in every situation because nobody's ever doubted his hands, his patience, or his decision making. and now that he hasn't yet shown any signs of that "soft player" we've all bashed him for, he's just been that much tougher.

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