Thread: Erik Cole
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10-23-2011, 12:54 AM
Miller Time
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I voted "bad chemistry/needs big centre", but #1 (overpaid) and #3 (missused) are also very valid points.

as much as he should get more PP time, he is playing 14min/game without any pp time, which would equate to 16-17min with PP time, not bad for a player not really used on the PK, and yet he's not producing anything...

so as much as Martin is a tool for not putting out there on the PP to help get him going, Cole & his lack of chemistry are also to blame.

he clearly is at his best playing with Staal (not that most players wouldn't look good on his wing), but perhaps it's not just about Staal's talent, it could also be about the kind of space that a big/fast C takes up and what that does to opposing defense & open lanes for Cole to drive in on.

as good as Pleks is, he doesn't take up the kind of space that a big skilled C does, and doesn't draw the defense in around him in the same way (if anything, Pleks vision and speed somewhat force opposing teams to focus on shutting down passing lanes, challenging him to make the kind of physical plays that a guy like Staal would thrive on).

The highlight clips of Cole from last year seemed to almost always show him bearing down on the net with speed, and space, and I admit that they got me excited to see what he would do with us (even though my initial reaction was that we overpaid pretty bad) given that we are built for transition and opportunistic scoring...

but maybe what those clips didn't really show was how Staal's precesence on cole's line drew the defense away from those lanes, giving him the space he needed to drive to the net and shoot.

Watching him play so far, it seems pretty clear that he doesn't have elite puck skills, he's a North-South player as they say, and since every team is by now ready to deal with our transition game, and we don't have any centres (though Eller is getting there) who can drive through the middle of the ice and force the defense to close in on them, Cole doesn't get those lanes to drive to the net, and doesn't put up any points.

i may be way off, not enough of a hockey x & o guy to make strong analysis of such micro level factors, but I do see Cole competing hard, so his struggles surely aren't for lack of effort.

bottom line, it looked like a bad signing at the time, and nothing thus far indicates anything different... 4 years... this one could hurt pretty bad...

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