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02-01-2013, 05:17 PM
eco's bones
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Originally Posted by Ola View Post

He made our opening night lineup last season over Avery and Christensen unless I am misstaken.

-Torts played him his rookie season.

-He was on pace to score almost 50 pts from a third line.

-Last season, he made the team out of camp in tough competition.

-The entire team struggled tremendously and Zucc took the fall for that (for sure).

-Then he got hurt in the AHL.

-The team started to be able to play 60 minutes, and when we needed to bring someone up Zucc -- who definitely according to any report was the first in line for a call-up and the best player in HFD -- was hurt and Hagelin and Mitchell got a shot. And they took it.

-After much agony, Zucc got another shot still and was instantly played on the PP and in a decent role.

-Then he broke his arm blocking a shot and didn't come back.

Alot of tough luck there for sure. But did Torts hate him? All we know is that Torts didn't bump Gabby or Cally and kept Prust on the 3rd line.

I do have a little problem with the talk around Zucc. I think it orgins to a large extent from people believing that they best guys are in the NHL, how good they are shows from their stats and how everyone is able to perform on their own in the game of hockey.

For every year I watch this game, watch kids for years in europe before they go over to the NHL (where they stay or don't stay), come back, watch kids in World Juniors or junior hockey in Canada or the AHL, I am more and more and more struck by how big of a impact "circumstances" outside a kid's control affects the career of the said kid and how extremely important the environement is both in terms of development but also of course in terms of stats and prodcution.

I know that many don't see eye to eye with me on Zucc, but I thought he played a very high level and made many amazing things in the NHL when he got a chance. He was never rattled by the pressure on him, and every time he got a shot played managed to play his game with very small marginals without misshandling pucks or doing what most nervous players do. He opened up a ton of ice with the way he handled the puck around the boards and threaded passes.

But he was put in a horrible environment for him. He had Gabby, Cally and Prust ahead of him on the depth chart, and always had to take a back seat to those two. He was forced to play with a unexperienced, small and avg skating center in Derek Stepan and a non-factor defensive player in Wojtek Wolski. We put a midget norwegian offensive wiz in a Nik Sundström with Gretz and AK role. But he still did alright. Stayed in the league. Often was a huge contributor in lifting his line which on many nights resulted in Torts playing the WW-Step-Zucc line as a 1/2 line.

I just don't get the talk of Zucc being worthless at all to be perfectly honest. I do not know what Zucc could have done if he had played with 6'2 vet center who was decent both ways. The avg 1st/2nd line center in this league. What he could have done with a Elias/Zajac, Staal/Staal, Richard/Carter, Thonton/Pavelski, Dats/Zetterberg, Malkin/Sid, Toews/Sharp, Bergeron/Krejci, just to name a few, or a center in that mold. I do not know, but I certainly wonder how anyone else can know either.

But I have seen him been a monster in the SEL breaking the scoring record for a forign player, I've seen him do it game in and game out, season after season.

Nobody is saying that he is a star. He is undoubtedly one-dimensional. But its hard to see why he couldn't be a very good player in this league.
There's no question to me that the talent is there. It's not about his being Norwegian--what's killing him is his size and strength-even 2 more inches and 15 extra pounds would make a huge difference and if he had an extra gear of speed he could be comparable to a Marin St. Louis. Genetics are what they are and for a 5'6-5'7 player going up against against skilled 6'2-6'3 players on smaller rinks where size and strength can be as important as creativity it is tough. As a pwp specialist Zucc would do pretty well but it's not enough when the coach wants you out there in other situations.

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