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03-28-2012, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by German Way of War View Post
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.

but…. his game isn't really focused below the circles? rewatch any full-game video of him from last season or any clips from his career. Staal's effective because all the plays he makes are at the blue line. It's a major defining factor with his game; wait, it's THE defining factor of his game. red-line to top of our own circles, Staal's one of the best in the game in that neighborhood. You couldn't be more wrong about his game. The fact that you don't notice it tells me about your perspective when it comes to NHL defense.

No free offensive zone time for top units against the kid. None. He challenges at the blue line every shift, and forces teams to actually make a strong play to walk gain the zone. I imagined that would be more noticable now, considering we have a defense that ALWAYS backs into it's own zone a little too deep. So many times when people are whining about the defense this is actually what I keep seeing. Girardi is a half-boards/low slot and below defender, and a damn good one at that.

Staal didn't run around for the hit, nor did he have any reason to not have full faith in his skating, which allowed him to always be in position to step up at the blue line.

The marriage between his game and Girardi's was lockdown defense.
Number one, it's hard as hell to gain a clean entry; number two, you have to outwork two of the toughest workers in the game. goodluck.

I think about McD and Staal's game together. Two smooth skaters, one with a ton of speed, one with a ton of physicality. Both like to get in on the rush, both are willing to hold the blue-line on offense aggressively. And just try creating an open lane across the NYR blueline, witht hat much quickness and smart positional aggressiveness. yeeesh.

Last edited by SlingshotVv: 03-28-2012 at 01:49 PM.
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