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10-26-2012, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by MS View Post

There are the big mistakes everyone sees, and the little good things nobody really notices.

Murzyn was a Regehr-esque force down low in the defensive zone ... but nobody notices when Kirk McLean has to face an unscreened shot because the opposition forward in front of the net has been moved 5 feet out of the way. 20,000 people all notice when you get pyloned 1-on-1.

Same with Brent Sopel, another unfairly maligned guy. Had a knack for making making really high-risk plays with the puck near his goal at bad times, or unluckily scoring on himself. But was the best defender I've ever seen in terms of pinching at the offensive blueline - absolutely unreal success rate, created so much more possession for the team.

Sopel also had a TV commentator (John Garrett) who absolutely hated him and took every opportunity to point out every single thing he could possibly be blamed for, no matter how much of a stretch - and of course that influences public perception. I remember in particular one play where Ohlund made a terrible turnover in the offensive zone, Sopel busted his ass to get back and make it a 2-on-1, and Garrett then tore Sopel to shreds for not preventing the pass on the 2-on-1 which led to a goal.

And like you say with Mason Raymond, the fact that he generates chances and then misses them makes him take more criticism than a similarly productive player who just blended into the woodwork and nobody noticed.
He was a so so goalie but his hockey career is God like compared to his commentary skills (or complete lack of them).

Sopel is one of those guys that would have thrived on the right team in the 80's but his skill set, especially skating, was always better than his hockey sense.

Raymond is just another in a long line that has great speed and can look good at times but he quite simply isn't a finisher and his hockey sense is average at best IMO.

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