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05-01-2006, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mcphee
MIke, I noticed one particular play when Higgins left his zone early, at full speed without the puck. He ended up standing still in the neutral zone as the play caught up to him. Do you think the line revolved so much around Koivu's ability to get them the puck, that Ryder and Higgins are wandering around aimlessly ? Seems that way to me ? I noticed how they were more of a factor with Begin because getting a pass in flight wasn't an option anymore, Begin just can't do that, so they became a mucking line. My thinking for the next game is to just make it an ugly grinding game.
Yeah. With Gainey and co., the center has been integral to the breakout, often carrying the puck a few strides then looking at open passing lanes. Doesn't always happen, but this is what seems to be practiced most. It's the same deal with Plekanec especially, and Bonk on the fourth line. Less so with Ribeiro, but only because he's a bit slower and Kovalev's so talented.

Under Julien, the center was still important, but as far as I remember Julien would concede the center of the ice a little more and look to keep the puck moving forward along the boards. Carolina does this too.

I agree on making next game a grinding game. Begin will hopefully be healthier. I like the idea of putting Begin there, since he gets the puck to the net and that's where Higgins/Ryder get their production from.

That said, it'll be hard to make it a real grinding game if Carolina's going to win the battles along the boards.

What do you think of Ryder's play?

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