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11-26-2003, 08:19 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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Well it was a make or brake year for little Mikey and so far so good. Seems like he'll make it after all. But his work isn't over. Ribs is showing he'll be able to handle the 2nd line job, especially if he can finally get some decent wingers (pipe dream: Brendan Morrow), but he needs to get stronger, lower body especially. He's now always moving on the ice which makes him much harder to neutralize and he improved his quickness and intensity along the boards, but if he wants to become even better, I'd say a 10 pounds of muscle added during next summer along with some power skating training will allow him to be competitive and even dominant against most teams on most nights resulting in much improved results. If he shows that kind of commitment and with one year older, next year he could become a 60 point successful second line center, something we didn't have for years.

I'm not saying he's disapointing so far though because clearly the best scorer of the team cannot be. Just that this is not the end of the road where Mike should think he has arrived because I still see obvious drawbacks, mostly caused by size and speed, which with the proper effort can be somewhat solved. His defensive commitment has also improved a lot, and he's now better in his off nights than Perreault in his best games in that regard, so this aspect, although it will obviously never be a strenght of his, is minimized enough that it shouldn't be a concern in the future.

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