Thread: A Team Divided
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12-02-2005, 09:57 PM
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T2M
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A Team Divided

I rarely get to watch my beloved Kings, but they were on Sportsnet tonight so I got the chance to watch the game. My impression is that we are in for a good future, but right now this team is a team divided between one that will pay the price and one that is a bunch of floating wussies.

On the good side:

Cammy: Putting him out there with Armstrong and Tambellini was not the best decision. Armstrong clearly couldn't keep up with his linemates while Cammy and Tambs needed a big guy to clear them some room. I also saw Cammy willing to get his nose dirty and he showed some real hustle. Has heart, has talent, needs support.

Tambellini: Wants to prove he belongs with the big club. Put the pressure on but isn't willing to use his body like might midget Cammy is. Even if you're not the biggest guy you still have to be willing to hammer a guy in the guts, just look at Mike Peca. That being said, Tambs showed skill, showed speed, and was playing the kind of game he needed to play all night long.

Gleason: Will fight with Chara. That gets him big points even if he does lose. Kid has guts and soul. I really want to see him get a chance at some offense. Needs more time, but he's in the right place right now.

Norstrom: Loved the way he was third man in and was there to back up Avery all game. The quiet warrior is still the captain, and for good reason.

Corvo: Even though people get violently upset with him on this board I thought Joe did what I wanted Visnovsky to do. He went out there every shift and tried to make things happen. I did count one time where he did not pursue the puck with urgency, and that has to be picked up on, but the rest of the time he wanted to be out there and he wanted to win. I didn't see that from guys like Miller and Visnovsky.

Avery: THIS is what the team needs to be built around. Avery needs to quit yapping at the officials. Quit playing "poor me" Sean. You put yourself in that position. At the same time he's out there every shift throwing hard hits, getting in people's faces and he's the only one who pursued the rebound tonight. The rest of the team just let Ottawa's defense push them around. Avery has all the heart and soul we need. If his head would catch up to the rest of him, he'd be scary. Give it a couple of years.

Average:

Frolov: Lots of skill but this guy really needs a sparkplug on his line. I actually think putting him out there with Avery for a while would do him a lot of good. Was always on in the offensive zone but did not show the backchecking he was supposed to be famous for. Is passing the puck a lot more though, which is good. Would love to see him shoot some. Also needs to learn to hit people, then he'd be scary.

Demitra: Got a goal, blah blah blah, we all expect that of him. Really, the guy can't be counted on to be the heart and soul of the team, he's the offense.

Conroy: Usually plays better, I think he just had an off night tonight. Didn't see much out of him at all good or bad. Sometimes that's not a bad thing, but the Kings needed him to step up and lead the team tonight.

Brown: The good thing about Brown is that he's got all the physical game he needs. We really need him to be hitting out there because nobody else will besides Norstrom, Gleason and Avery. Brownie has all the heart and soul we could want coming back from that hit from behind and still going to the net. What he needs to remember is that he can also score. I think he's forgotten that. He's had success hitting so he's trying to hit all the time instead of building on it and going for the goals too. Looks like he really wants to please his teammates but isn't playing up to what he could. I actually think putting him on a line with Frolov and somebody else would spark both of them. Puppy was a good nickname for him because he really wants to please, but unless he's humping your leg really hard he's just sitting in the middle of the room looking lost. Throw him a ball though and he knows what to do with it.

Bad:

Visnovsky: Hello, tin man? We've found some heart for you. Really, it's all in Sean Avery's body. That play on the last (or second to last, I forget just which) Ottawa goal, that was what I call "being a gutless puke". Ottawa should have taught you a lesson tonight and that is that you take hits, make plays, and win games through playing for your teammates. You were invisible all night Lubo and you can play better than that.

Armstrong and Belanger: I almost want to put them in the average category just for trying but these guys are too lax on any one thing to make them really useful. They can't fight, are weak hitters, don't make enough quality plays to make a regular difference, and try to do everything themselves. Belanger does win faceoffs, and both of them bring an honest, hard working effort to the team. Unfortunately that's not enough to be playing more than 7 or 8 minutes a night.

Cowan: Yes, you fought Kelly. Yipee. Where were you all night when Sean was getting mauled? Cowan can obviously fight low level heavy weights but he wasn't out there and wasn't willing to do it. He also didn't bring the physical game he needs to have in order to really make a difference when he's out there. I realize he doesn't play a whole lot, but he plays enough that when he's out there, we need him to make the other team think twice.


Overall this team is divided between the heartfelt, pay the price, back your teammates up style of Avery, Norstrom, Brown, and to a lesser degree Cammy, Conry and Tambs and the half efforts of the Cowans, Armstrongs, Belangers, and Visnovskys of the team. Fro and Demitra I think just follow the general order of the team. When everybody else works hard, or the puck ends up on their stick, they play hard. Otherwise they coast looking for opportunities instead of looking to make them happen (Cammy and Tambs on the other hand were begging for somebody to help them make some magic). I saw a team that didn't want to pay the price out there tonight, and that was really disturbing. The guys who were willing to pay were mostly under 6 feet tall. If I were Frolov, I'd be ashamed about that. Part of improving as a player is improving yourself as a teammate, and that's something that isn't stressed enough.

The powerplay and pk suck because there is no sense of urgency about this team short of the guys I put up there at the top of the list. Ottawa was fast, but they were also hungry. Really hungry. The Kings don't need to look at game tapes, they need to look at the look in the eyes of the Senators players. They need to find that hunger. They also need to stick up for one another. JR has got to get back in that locker room and give them the riot act on that. Until this team stops being a bunch of professionals and learns to love that crest and play for everybody else in that locker room, we will have an up and down season. Ottawa's a family. We're a team. That's a big difference.

What this game showed me is that we really need more of our young guys coming up. The youth on this team makes it run. Players like Armstrong, Cowan, Belanger, I now see why many people consider them dead weight that needs to be trimmed. They don't play like they want to be here. We need some size up the middle, unfortunately it's playing in Sweden this year. It sounds like Tukonen is the next guy to be ready to make the jump and he can't make it too soon in my books if the team doesn't start playing a more physical game. Unfortunately, we haven't stocked ourselves with those bodies. Next season, when DT's looking at UFAs for the third and fourth lines, he should be looking at the ability to play solid two-way games but really up the physical presence on this team so that the Cammys and Tambs of the team can work their magic.

All for now,

T2M

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