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03-04-2013, 10:25 AM
Cyborg Yzerberg
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Originally Posted by nik jr View Post

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.
Too bad Cleary has been awful with board play, and Abdelkader is a turnover machine.

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