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Leblanc's struggles in Hamilton
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02-01-2013, 11:53 AM
nexus of the crisis
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Four Winds Bar
Originally Posted by
I saw him on the Bulldogs and I really thought he was going to be great. I don't know if the ankle injury did anything or not but maybe our expectations were too high to begin with.
Pre-injury, Chipchura's skating was an issue. He needed to get quicker. It was one of the main knocks on him as a prospect. Then he had the achilles injury. Surely it delayed his ability to get quicker. But by the time he was in Hamilton and getting looks from the Habs, it was very clear to me that he had indeed improved his quickness, relatively to his pre-injury state. And it's clear today that he's skating well enough to play in the NHL. He's no slower now than I expected he was going to be when we drafted him. Never fast, never agile, but never by so much that it would stop him from playing. That's what I expected before the injury, and that's what I see today.
I think the injury delayed and interrupted his development, but I just don't think you can pin it all on the injury. His vision and anticipation just haven't translated into the kind of production and defensive impact that I expected. I'm also not sure that he has really packed on the NHL strength at the pace expected? He fights a bit and plays along the boards, but I never get the impression that he has really added the muscle to be the most effective he could be for an NHL grinder role.
As for Leblanc... he just needs to stick it out. Lots of players go through dark times. I remember Max saying he'd rather be in the minors and play... too soon to write this guy off yet. Hopefully he pans out.
Yeah, he was looking good last year, I thought. It's way too soon. He'll find a way out of it, probably. Hopefully. We've got time.
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