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02-27-2013, 06:47 AM
Kruger Line=2.5 Men
Join Date: Jan 2008
Originally Posted by
Brandon Pirri also hasn't earned a real look yet. The organization gets that he can put up points; they want him to show he can commit to playing a better two-way game and to this point he's only improved marginally since his rookie Pro season. Like I said, guys like Morin and J.Hayes have put in work to improve their overall games.. guys like Pirri and Beach haven't much since their rookie Pro seasons.
If Pirri played with half the smarts and commitment in his own zone as Kruger, he'd be in the NHL and he'd be in Chicago's top-6.. but he doesn't, so he's not.
I don't have a problem with people thinking Pirri could be the 2nd line centre over Kruger.. but it was annoying as **** last year reading all the whinning about Kruger being the 2nd line centre and all the people that wanted to bring Pirri up despite Pirri being just as small, just as "weak", just as bad on faceoffs with the biggest difference between the two being, not offense, but defensive value - to which Pirri had none and to this point still holds very, very little.
It was the, "Oh, look, Pirri's putting up points in the AHL - he must be better than Kruger!" **** that annoyed me and why I defended Kruger. Then, this year, when both were actually in the AHL at the same time, Pirri outscored Kruger by 2 points in 1 extra game played and scored only 2 more goals. Not exactly a gulf.
There's no evidence to suggest Pirri's actually better offensively than Kruger. He has a much better shot, that of which I've never denied and he has better hands, but when it comes to actually scoring points and contributing offensively, Kruger makes up for the gap in shot and hands with hard work and tenacity to a point where the difference in actual production is minimal. Thus, we circle back to the actual difference between the two - Kruger plays above-average NHL defense, for any player, and Pirri plays well below-average NHL defense, which for a centre, is damning.
Seems like a lot of conjecture on your part as to how much actual after hours "work" good or bad any guy has put in regarding anything related to hockey, unless of course you know these young men personally, can direct me to a quote from a Hawks source, or show me a video/interview where their work ethic is either questioned or praised.
You act like you have inside info from the Hawks. Please share it with me/us. I want to be enlightened as to what the Hawks brass really thinks of all of our prospects, so I can ignore the 90% of them that won't ever sniff the NHL, and concentrate on the two or three that will.
Also, I'd like to know how many Rockford games you've actually seen in person, rather than on a feed, on which you're basing your criticisms and praises. I do know that over the past two years for the players in question (and that includes Kruger and Saad this year) at the Rockford games I've seen personally, I have been able to follow players all over the ice, regardless of puck posession. Much different perspective.
There is no way Saad looked as good in the AHL as he did the first 10-15 games on the Hawks, and I was impressed with Saad. He certainly didn't look as fast or play as tough as he is now. The same goes for Kruger, who looked like he was in the 10th percentile or less regarding strength (though he still showed a willinginess to mix it up in the corners), still showed little offensive flair, and was still obviously outmatched at the dot. Both players are playing better on the Hawks than they did in Rockford. It's funny what a little more adrenaline, a little push from the big boys, and a mean stare from Quenneville can do for one's play.
Likewise, Hayes and Smith have looked worse to me in Rockford than I remember their play on the Hawks, while to my eyes Shaw looked good and has played the same game that I saw in both the AHL and NHL (energetic, aggressive, annoying guy with skill), and I see Morin's game translating well too. All Leddy did was rush the puck and ignore his defense. Looked like crap on the Hogs.
Kruger certainly looked worse the first ten games this year than he has the last eight, so even he is improving as the games go on. Still, he has problems with (lack of) strength in all areas of the ice, offensive creativity, and faceoffs. While I begrudginly admit that Kruger has looked
better this year than last, there is no denying that he was totally outclassed last year. Not hard to improve over that. However, when you persist in defense of his play last year, holding it up as an example of what a fine player he is, you discredit yourself as a rational and credible source when it comes to him. In my perspective, he was in no way acceptable last year in the role he was given, and he shouldn't have been on the Hawks outside of as a defensive specialist.
However, it's obvious to me that even I am more open-minded when it comes to Kruger than you are when it comes to Pirri.
Pirri in no way shape or form is as bad defensively as you persist in making him out to be, and he's certainly physically strongerr than Kruger in most aspects of the game. Just my opinion after watching him exclusively on multiple shifts over a few games this year. Small sample size yes, but it's a personal observation much like a scout would get before moving onto another team/player. Regarding points, Kruger played on the first PP unit, and on the first line. Regardless of points scored in the AHL this year, Pirri looked
more dangerous and skilled offensively than Kruger, controlling time and space with the puck. He has a pro shot, whiled Kruger's is weaker than most Junior players. Kruger relies on grinding out goals, and doesn't pass as well. Again, all my personal observations.
Pirri is obviously more talented offensively than our current 2C options while Bolland is hurt (Kruger included), a 2C isn't necessarily counted on to be hugely defensively responsible, and we have great two-way forwards with whom he can be paired to help him along. Can you say with certainty that he wouldn't "step it up" like the others have within the better system and with the better players on the Hawks, grind it out a bit more, back check a bit harder, etc...? Or, are you completely willing to permanently write him off as having no chance at being a "Hawks-caliber" player, because you believe that he has a lack of dedication to defensive improvement while playing on the Hogs and within their system?
There is no real way to tell how a player will actually perform in the NHL over a
stretch of games until you give him the chance, whether he will improve or stagnate, succeed or fail. While there is no spot for Hayes, Smith, Beach, and even Morin at this time, there may well be a spot for Pirri if Bolland is out for any stretch of time. To use a recent comparable, if Sam Gagner is in the NHL, there is no real reason Pirri can't be given a shot.
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