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03-28-2012, 12:40 PM
  #40
GWOW
Two Pucks, One Cup
 
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Everyone knows where I stand on Staal. I've been critical of him for several years now, so my thoughts on his play/struggles etc isnt something that just popped up because he's playing poorly.

I think he is a very good defender below the circles. That's about it. Granted, a bulk of the game nowadays is played below the circles, so he does have an impact. He's always been 50/50 on plays to the outside, and he has always had issues with losing his man in 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 rushes. He's not a heavy hitter. Yeah, no need to show the Crosby clip. He has the potential to be a bone crusher, but he chooses not to, and with the concussion, he probably never will be.

IMO, "elite" is not a subjective term. "Elite" means 1st or 2nd All NHL, award winners, scoring leaders, postseason dominance, etc. I just never considered him "elite".

Elite defenders IMO are Lidstrom, Chara, Pronger, Chelios, Bourque etc. Very good defenders are guys like Staal, Chris Phillips, Tim Gleason, Dan Hamhuis...As important as they may be, they arent the end-all be-all defenders.

Staal has always done stupid crap. Horrible pinches. Terrible, terrible on outlet passes. He needs a partner like a Cam Fowler or a Mike Green or a Kris Letang who can control the puck. Beukeboom never lugged the puck up the ice. He never tried to split the forecheckers with home run passes. He served as a backup to Leetch in case Leetch ran into trouble when he rushed the puck up the ice.

That's where I'd like to see Staal get to. Be a safety net, not some wannabe. When you pair him with Bickel, he's basically in control of both ends of the ice, and it doesnt suit him.

My expectations were very high seeing him play in the CHL and where he was drafted. I'm fine with him being a strictly defensive defenseman. But he needs to cut the dumb **** out.

Sometimes I think he's got a 10-cent head. His on-ice decisions jump from Einstein to High Pitch Eric on a shift to shift basis. I'm getting a little tired of it.

Just get to the CF this year, and I'll re-think my stance. If he sucks all postseason I'll be fuming.

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