Bob Cole Divisional Quarterfinals: Philadelphia vs. Winnipeg
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04-10-2012, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted by
was a pass first guy? I always saw him as another balanced guy.
7x Top 23 in assists compared to 4x Top 10 in goals for a winger seems a bit more pass-biased that even. That and he always drew comparisons to Gretzky due to his tremendous vision and passing ability. The quotes in my bio are all glowing about his playmaking abilities, mentioning much less about his shooting.
I don't see Nieuwendyk keeping up with the other two in transition, so he's not getting in front of the net off the rush. In a cycle game (where Kariya isn't that useful), Joe will make his way to the net.
This is a legitimate criticism. Nieuwendyk will likely be serving as the trailer a lot of the time for these guys considering Salming is going to be jumping up on the rush and working the transition game he was so famous for a lot. While Kariya is no Dickie Moore in the corners, he wasn't afraid to work in traffic and behind the other team's net. Much like Gretzky loved to operate behind the net, Kariya did as well because it allowed him to use his great vision to see the entire ice. From my bio:
Kariya was particularly adept at making plays from deep in the offensive zone and beside the opposing team's net.
At 5'10" and 180 pounds, the 24-year-old Kariya is a blur on skates and is not averse to coursing through traffic to make plays.
Kariya is stylish and clever, looking to make the pass first, take the shot second. He sometimes swirls in circles to shake free from opponents. He makes short little passes off the boards to himself to avert body checks. He takes the puck behind the opposition net and waits, as if he is counting the paying customers, waits and waits until he finds someone open. He—does all this sound familiar?—has that sense that he knows where the game is going before everyone else does. He sees what nobody else seems to notice.
A leftwinger, Kariya nevertheless likes to set up behind the opponent's net to the goalie's left, a la Mr. Wayne-derful. And at 5'11", 165 pounds, Kariya has been knocked for being too small, a criticism Gretzky endured before turning pro.
Kariya's ability set up behind the net will allow Howe to give him another option to shoot, or use his great vision to find Nieuwendyk in front of the net. His patience and smarts with the puck will allow Nieuwendyk to get into position in front of the net to do what he does best.
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