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01-16-2012, 04:08 PM
Talks to Goalposts
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Location: Edmonton
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Originally Posted by Cyclones Rock View Post
The arguments of DD needing "these type of linemates" or "getting this type of shielding" and this, that and whatever is gettting a bit silly. He produces. He's been a top notch producer at every level he has played and now-after his first full season equivalent (80 games)-he's a top producer for an NHL team. What is so astonishing about that?

What has been the motivation to shield this guy? He's undrafted and the team has virtually no financial interest vested in this guy. He's a freebee. I suppose that he's a francophone could be a motivation, but I tend to doubt that. He's used in order to maximize his advantage. Period. And why? Because he has the opportunity to be more productive than anyone else in the situations (linemates, game situations) in which he's being used.

If someone wants to look to find a shielded player on the Canadiens, then look no further than Gomez. His contract has allowed him a buffer from the reality of his putrid game. He hasn't deserved top 6 minutes in well over a season, yet Jacques Martin may have cost himself his job by continuing to insert Gomez in situations (PP/overall ice time) which clearly weren't deserved.

That's shielding.

That DD would ultimately surpass Plekanec in offensive production should come as no surprise. He was a much more productive player than TP was at any previous level. This is not to demean TP or state that DD is a better overall player; it merely is a logical deduction based on past experience.

Enjoy the kid. The Canadiens are lucky to have him.
The motivation to shield him is the desire to win hockey games. Having pretty good two-way centers in Plekanec and Eller and to some extent Gomez and excellent winger depth allowed Martin to use a pure offensive center with a weaker defensive/possession game in entirely offensive situations, starting his shifts closer to the opponents net and against weaker opponents. If the first two lines played their opponents equal while Desharnais supported by two legit top-six wingers shredded their opponents then Montreal would be a good Even Strength team.

This was wildly successful at the start of the season as Montreal was one of the league's top even strength teams. It fell apart later due to injuries and after the coaching change Cunneyworth no longer employs said strategy. Actually Cunneyworth hasn't employed any consistent line strategy at all.

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