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03-05-2013, 07:39 AM
  #202
Ola
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beacon View Post
Here's a question for those who are watching Whale hockey: What's wrong with Klassen? I've been trying to figure out a flaw in his defensive game. Obviously he isn't going to go coast to coast, but in what sense is he not qualified to be a defense-first NHLer?

He used to move like he was skating on sand. Not anymore, he's very competent now. He takes the body perfectly. He uses his stick for defense very well. He's always in position.

Every time he gets on the ice, you know nothing will happen, you might as well fast forward the game. Not exciting? Well, sometimes you don't need the excitement that comes with Parlett or Vernace giving away the puck between the hash marks.

Why is Klassen worse than Sauer? (Besides the fact that he plays on the left where we are overloaded and has only an AHL contract.) I mean it, what am I not seeing that's keeping him in the AHL?
I like Klassen. He is more composed than McI in many situations.

One big diffrence we have seen if we compare the pre-lockout game to the post-lockout game is that mobility and lateral movement is valued in the game today. D's in general are composed in a diffrent way. We don't see many at all of those fire hydrant built 6'1 - 6'3 D's who are rock solid but of course has a tad of a heavy step (there were a ton of these guys in the NHL if we go back 10 years, (Daneykos, Pilons, Witts, Hills, Hannans, Mansons, Gauthiers, Diducks, Ragnarssons, Timmanders, Dykhius, Richardsssons, Norströms and co just to name a few that comes to mind). Guys that were really heavy and solid built but didn't have tremendous reach nor moved especially well. To be built like that was more or less the default.

Klassen isn't slow or anything like that. For a physically strong D, his skating is decent for sure. I mean he is youthful on the ice. Skates with energy. But, his skating isn't a strength. That's whats holding him back.

The reason McI was drafted 10th overall is definitely because he is unique in the sense that he is strong as a bull and can fight and hit and what not -- but he is also very athletic and got a good jump on the ice when he moves out there.

What exterminated those physical cubes of D's were really that you cannot recover in the game today. Its extremely important to stay on the right side of your forward all the time in your own end, and that's something I think Klassen could manage, but what is just as important is, when facing a rush, to be able to keep a gap between you and the forward that enables you to step up on the forward when he fires the puck and get a stick on it or atleast yourself in a great position to block it, or, to always have a bit of a head start if the forward trys to go Rick Nash on you and step around you. Its especially in the later situation a D like say Rick Pilon could give the forward a whack over the arms and then, even if he got past Pilon, like distrub him, with a hook or whatever, juuuusssst enough to prevent a goal from being scored. Now what you do instead is just keep a gap to a forward and back into the lap of your goalie if that is needed. If the forward tries to shoot, the D steps up on him and gets a stick on it or his body betweent eh shot and the net, and since the D backs down with some distance between himself and the forward, its extremely hard for a speedster like Gaborik for example to step around the D. This is what McD is great at, and what Klassen is just avg at. Its not Klassen's strength. And its probably the first thing a coach in teh NHL looks for in a D.

I am not saying that Klassen won't make it. I like him. But the battle he have to fight is to prove himself more useful than the slighter built better skating D's that he will have infront of him on the depth chart.


Last edited by Ola: 03-05-2013 at 07:47 AM.
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