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02-07-2012, 11:43 PM
Brooklyn Ranger
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Originally Posted by SlingshotVv View Post
I'm as big a fan of the NYR defense and Girardi as anyone, but in games like this, and games going down the stretch, I think we need to see Staal on a pairing where he can be on the ice versus team's top-lines regularly.

Staal's our thoroughbred. He's big, strong, mobile, good on the puck, smart passer, and never passes up any physical play. It seems he's exactly the guy we'd want matched up against a line like Kovalchuk's as regular as possible.

Having him paired with Bickel is not going to allow him to log those minutes. Not that Bickel hasn't played well, but he does have to be protected against a line that is solid on both wings (like Parise/Kovalchuk). It keeps Staal off the ice in way too many big situations. Can't really put them on the ice for defensive zone faceoffs where you know the opposition is going to be rolling their first, and can't have him on the ice when we absolutely need offense.

I just don't see how not having him on a pairing with a MDZ, McD, Girardi, hell even Stralman, benefits this team.
Staal is still getting back into the swing of things--missing 1/2 from training camp on clearly has had an effect on his play and it's possible that he won't be back to his "usual" self until next season. That said, Bickel plays less than 10 minutes a game, Staal has played over 20 minutes in several of his more recent games (including tonight). For the most part, it's been a 5 man rotation, especially in the second half of a game.

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