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11-06-2012, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Originally Posted by
That's pretty accurate. The only thing I would disagree with is that his first NHL season was probably his best in terms of two-way play. (I don't think he was bad defensively at all during his first pro season)
His second season saw a bigger shift towards offense, especially after we acquired Flash and if the wheels hadn't fallen off the whole team completely from February to April (a time period where iirc the entire team failed to produce even 2 goals-per-game) he would have probably reached 80 points. We did start to see some shifts where he seemed to be 'mailing-it-in' defensively speaking.
Last year was a disaster. We saw him try to put the whole team on his back and try to do too much and failed time and time again.
It is important to note though, that this certainly wouldn't be the first time that a young, offensive-minded player took some time to mature and 'buy-in' to becoming more of a two-way presence. While from a different era, Steve Yzerman immediately comes to mind. I remember reading articles about how Bryan Murray (then GM of the Red Wings) was actually contemplating trading him because of his lack of defensive awareness or what have you. Yzerman was 24-25 years old at the time and he ended up being a two-way force with the right mindset and good coaching.
Patience is key here but there certainly ARE reasons for concern, especially when you see the player seemingly develop bad habits (lazy backcheck) and either the coach is letting it slide (unlikely <-
I would like to think
) or it's not sinking it.
Generally though, with players like that, it just takes time and proper coaching to get some of that 'immaturity' out of his game. We've all seen him play some strong two-way games and it's going to be up to him to realize that it's even more impressive to play a consistently strong two-way game (like RoR did last year) than it is to score a highlight reel goal and end up on Sportscenter every week.
I'm banking that bringing in a guy like Parenteau will help Duchene get his groove back and while I don't expect him to instantly get all the kinks out, I think we'll see some improvements in that regard this season (if there is one).
The one thing about Duchene that really bothers me, isn't the backchecking thing. That's simple effort, for the most part. The thing that really concerns me, is that Duchene just doesn't seem to often put himself or the puck in the correct places at the correct times. Some of that can be experience, but often a lot of that is simply sense - it's there or it isn't. And Duchene simply makes poor decisions with the puck and with himself all of the time.
Compare this to O'R, for example, who always seems to have his stick and his body in the right place, and puts the puck in good places on the ice all night long.
When discussing 'hockey sense', whatever "it" is, it seems that Duchene doesn't have it, while O'R does.
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