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11-03-2003, 05:40 AM
  #12
StanleyCH25
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I agree with some of your points but disagree with a few.

-First, I don't think Ward has done anything to warrant top line icetime. Yes, he's a hard worker and yes he's a gritty "work the corners" type of guy but that doesn't mean you should stick him on the top line. I consider him more in his element (energy 3rd or 4th line player) where he is right now and don't see why we should change this.

To add to this, I don't honestly think being MVP or leading scorer of the AHL necessarily translates to top line in the NHL. As an example, here are some of the past MVP and Scoring leaders from the AHL:

MVP Award:
1989 Stephan Lebeau
1990 Paul Ysebaert
1991 Kevin Todd
1992 John Anderson
1993 Don Biggs
1994 Rich Chernomaz
1995 Steve Larouche
1996 Brad Smyth
1997 Jean-Francois Labbe (G)
1998 Steve Guolla
1999 Randy Robitaille

Leading scorer:
1989 Stephan Lebeau
1990 Paul Ysebaert
1991 Kevin Todd
1992 Shaun Van Allen
1993 Don Biggs
1994 Tim Taylor
1995 Peter White
1996 Brad Smyth
1997 Peter White
1998 Peter White
1999 Domenic Pittis
2000 Christian Matte
2001 Derek Armstrong
2002 Donald MacLean
2003 Steve Maltais

From taking a close look at this list, I don't see anyone who is a top 2 line candidate in the NHL.


As for Koivu, I agree, we are a better team with him. He creates scoring chances (as does Ribeiro) but we need finishers which we are still lacking. I also agree that Ribeiro is not a top line centre. He does, however, fill in a good 2nd line position to provide us with 2 creative centres. Obviously, it would be nice to have some size up the middle on one of the top 2 lines but I don't think it's crucial as long as we have size on the wings or on the 3rd & 4th lines. I'm hoping Kilger will finally find his role as the 4th line centre and with any luck, Hossa will put his skills to use on the wing or possibly even get tried at his natural centre position if Ribeiro gets traded.

As for Zednik, I disagree. He doesn't need to start scoring, he needs to start passing. I only say this because he has become too predictable (then again, I think he always has been). Whenever he has the puck, the opposition barely have to worry about anything but him because he thinks he can carry the puck in and shoot every single time. Goalies can cheat a little because they don't feel that they have to worry so much about him passing it off. If he realizes this and starts looking for an open man, he will prevent this lockdown from occurring on him and it will give him more room to manoeuver as well as give him more room to score since goalies and defencemen won't be able to lock down on him so much. This will increase both his total points as well as his goals (who'd have thought that passing would increase your goals?).

I'm still hoping that Audette pulls out of his slump but I give him until end of November to do so. If he doesn't start scoring, buy him out, trade him, whatever. No point in wasting a top line position with a small forward who is a liability in his own end and can't provide what his asset is (scoring).

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