Thread: Confirmed with Link: Stewart re-signed, 1 yr/3M
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06-15-2012, 08:33 PM
  #75
Celtic Note
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2 Minute Minor View Post
Stewart still looked lost out there at the end of the year. He was putting in the effort, but there is a mental part to playing Hitch's system that Stewart didn't evidence much growth with.

I think he CAN be a contributor for the Blues, with Hitchcock. But there is a lot of hand-waving going on with the speculation that an off-season regimen is going to solve the issue. Remember, he was on a contract season last year, too, and that wasn't enough to "motivate" Stewart sufficiently (if fitness really WAS a big factor).

Personally, I think Stewart will rebound with a 25 goal campaign, just enough to show clear improvement, but nowhere near the 40 goal threat we dreamed of. To be honest, if he can keep the cycle going and his line can be effective, I don't care all that much what Stewart's individual numbers are. Too many times last year the puck would come out of the zone as soon as it went to Stewart. He'd lose a board battle, or make a bad pass, etc. I want to see a guy that knows where he's supposed to go on the ice to make a play, and knows how to use his teammates. Show me that consistently, and a 20 goal season will be enough for me (and it will probably mean he's on the 2nd/3rd line).
I think you nailed the analysis of Stewart. He has the ability to rebound, but was conditioning the real issue? I think it will help keep his engine moving along at a greater rate and it can help him win more puck battles, but my biggest concern is his desire to mentally propel himself on the ice. I think Stewart's internal drive and his hockey sense are the biggest hurdles. This really is a guy who relies almost purely on skill and has throughout his career. With his sabbatical from hockey, he missed a great deal of learning and at a critical time. That knowledge of the game he now has to acquire in the toughest league in the world. Can he do it? Sure, but it will probably take time if he makes those strides.

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