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07-18-2011, 11:35 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: NJ
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Originally Posted by Brian Boyle View Post
I was re-watching early Ranger games from this past season, and Del Zotto's defensive deficiencies were excessively overstated -- I also find it odd that some fans feel he doesn't even have to ability to defend. One game in particular stood out to me; the game in Toronto where Anisimov/Fedotenko scored very quickly apart. That was also Biron's first game as a Ranger. Del Zotto made several exceptional reads on net-front passes and down low plays. He ended up with 6 blocks in the game, as well.

He's a smart player -- his mistakes come from over-anticipating plays and nervous mistakes. He has the ability to be a more than adequate defensive player; the only question mark is his mental game.

I think he can make the team this year. If they lower his responsibilities, and pair him with a steady defensive player (aka NOT Matt Gilroy), all the better. He played his best last season when paired with Girardi/Rozsival. His game really came off the rails when he was put with Eminger/Gilroy. He's not a player that's going to carry his pairing in the defensive end; but, he won't end up dragging it down if he's playing to his ability, either.
I actually saw some improvements in his defensive game early on... For one, he was blocking more shots and also using his body better to take away passing lanes and break up some passes.... He needs to regain his confidence in handling the puck in the defensive zone and work on his positioning, but he's not nearly as bad as some of the fans make him out to be after they see him make a glaring giveaway or cough a puck up.

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