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01-20-2013, 02:13 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
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- Kunitz & Dupuis, worked hard but created nothing. They'll be great, though. These are just guys who didn't get the benefit of playing games recently. They'll be fine soon, and at least the hustle was there.

+ Cooke & Kennedy: both guys showed hustle, and Cooke brought some more physicality to his game.

- Tangradi: he will need to show more, but deserves to have some time to adjust. He will have a short-leash, however, and may get supplanted by Jeffrey within 10 games if he fails to make an impact. He wasn't bad, he just wasn't great.

+ Despres: yes, he made some mistakes, but what I liked most about his game tonight was his ability to then use his size and mobility to almost immediately make up for those mistakes with a good play. He also showed a lot of confidence and didn't look out of place, which is great. But make no doubt about it: for a guy like him, going into a game of this magnitude with this rivalry, there have to be some nerves and jitters, so his mistakes are forgivable, and he is showing like he looks like he belongs in the NHL, which I honestly thought he might not be ready for. I'm a lot less upset about losing Strait if Despres can keep this up.

Realism Check: Dustin Jeffrey: no, he wasn't geat tonight, though he wasn't terrible aside from one bad turnover; but guys, be honest: his ability to make an impact will be limited to some degree by playing with Glass and Adams. But please remember to factor in that, despite playing 20 games in a low-tier league in Europe, he hasn't played NHL quality -- or even AHL quality hockey -- in virtually over a year now. Give him half the season to get re-acclimated, and you will see the potential for him to be the impact player that Bylsma talked about in his pre-game interview today.

(this list is not exhaustive, and other guys were good, particularly Martin and Niskanen, the latter who looked deserving of taking on a bigger role this season).

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