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03-04-2013, 10:06 AM
nik jr
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Originally Posted by silkyjohnson50 View Post
But the problem I have with that is Tatar hasn't shown to be a defensive liability. He's young so he's still got growth without the puck, but so did Brunner. Holmstrom, Datsyuk's most frequent linemate over the years, was typically the worst forward on the team defensively.

In addition, it's not like Cleary and Abdelkader are Selke caliber defensive forwards. Just because you're blue collar doesn't mean you're effective. In fact, you can pretty much count on at least one defensive zone turnover per game when it comes to them, and Cleary has been terrible at turning the puck over at the offensive zone blueline which creates easy transition.

I think Babcock is simply over thinking the move.

i don't see much difference in defensive play between tatar and brunner. imo, it is tatar's size and strength on the boards that keeps him off datsyuk's line. he is not crap in those areas, but they are his strength, and he isn't as good as cleary or abdelkader there.

but i think it would be a good idea to try tatar with datsyuk. tatar is a smart offensive player even without the puck, which is not true of most of the F's. tatar also has not had any TOI in OT where there is more open ice.

i think babcock's idea with abdelkader - datsyuk - cleary is to combine datsyuk's ability to control play with boring grinding on the boards. datsyuk is often playing like a defensive midfielder in the offensive zone. instead of datsyuk's typical puck possession game, that line is keeping opponents in their own end by cleary's and abdelkader's grinding on the boards while datsyuk waits for something to develop (attack), or for opponents to get the puck (defend).

that line has been used more against top lines of opponents (sedins, toews) since it has been together.

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