Thread: Erik Johnson
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12-30-2011, 07:58 PM
Celtic Note
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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
I'm still not convinced Stewart is lazy. He's historically had an on and off relationship with hockey, so his confidence and focus are not going to be the same as the average NHLer.
He reminds me a lot of Tkachuk. When he scores once, he smells blood in the water and wants another. He has an innate sense that a goal is coming and turns into superman. So, when his confidence is down, he never gets that sense, and he never turns into superman.

Tkachuk had similar ups and downs. He'd be an absolute beast for a ten or fifteen game stretch, and he'd go a couple weeks getting caught flat-footed and having pucks ricochet off his stick for no good reason. And not because he was mailing it in, but because, for whatever reason, he lacked focus.
The difference is that Tkachuk was pretty much always physical, and his shot was never very good. His shot actually improved significantly after coming to the Blues and spending time with Demitra. When Tkachuk would bang around, he'd get fired up and overcome his focus issues. Stewart, on the other hand, is fast and has a good shot, which means that when his confidence is down, he can take the easy way out of a play, which means firing from the outside and using his speed to go around guys instead of through them. So he doesn't crash his way back into things and his streaks are more prolonged. Some people might call that soft, but I don't see him shying away so much as thinking too much and not playing with purpose. A lack of purpose and a lack of effort are not the same.

Would trading Stewart bother me? No, but only for something truly good, not just unloading him. Pretty much the only guys on the team I don't think could bring a return that would compensate for their loss are Pietrangelo and Backes. However, I don't see Stewart mailing it in. I'm open to the argument that a headcase is just as bad or worse than a lazy player. At the end of the day, the result might be the same as a lazy player, but, as a fan, laziness bothers me a lot more.
This is what worries me about Stewart. Focus is such a huge part of the game. It is the difference between high skill offensive guys staying or leaving the NHL.

Also, its hard to say if Stewart is being lazy or not. Loosing focus can just as easily be about being lazy as it can be about being frustrated. Its hard to tell which one is plaguing Stewart (or possibly a combination of the two). Regardless, I think Stewart's focus issues are more of a factor than his laziness or perceived laziness. I do however see his lack of physicality as an issue and his lack of commitment to the forecheck and backcheck as big issues when he is not on his game and an area for improvement even when he is on his game.

As for your thoughts on trading Stewart, Pietrangelo or Backes, I strongly agree with your appraisal.

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