Plekanec to Montreal!
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12-31-2003, 04:22 PM
A soupçon of nutmeg
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Le Creuset
Originally Posted by
Well I just don't see how Plekanec will have to time to outplay Juneau in his short span over here. Like I said previously, Plekanec will be lucky if he can see one or two games on the 4th line before being sent back when Gratton and especially Koivu come back. Even if I'm very high on Plekanec, he would have to be some kind of very special talent to play in his 1st NHL game and convince the coach to keep him here in a regular role and then latter hand him Juneau's job. Audette was not doing his job. But truth is, in Julien's mind, Juneau seems to be doing his, which is shuting down the top lines. The 3rd line plays such a key role in Julien's system that I really wonder if we'll see anybody aside Juneau, Dackell, Sundstrom and Bulis be part of it between now and the end of the season. I'm of course hoping I'm completely wrong, but seeing how crowded the lineup is right now, I don't think I am.
EDIT: Of course when Begin comes back, Juneau's job will truly be endangered.
I mostly agree with your views on Juneau. It's true that Julien relies heavily on his 3rd line. It's also true that before his injury, Begin was in the process of dislodging Juneau from the 3rd line.
But the Begin experiment showed two things: some of Begin's strengths, and some of Juneau's flaws. Whether Begin is playing or not, Juneau still has those flaws.
Juneau is very limited offensively. He has one move: streak down the wing, curl inside the blueline, and look for a cross-ice pass. Of course his job isn't to generate offense. But Dackell and Sundstrom (and sometimes Bulis) generate less offence as a result. It's a big sacrifice.
His defensive play is also limited. He's not particularly fast anymore, and he is not very physical. He is very intelligent and usually plays a sound positional game. But wits don't throw bodychecks, and thinking doesn't make him a faster skater.
The premise of a checking line is not based on defence alone. A checking line has to score goals as well, for the basic mission is to outscore the other team. Just as a scoring line has to play some defence, a checking line also has to contribute a little to the offence. With Juneau, one sometimes gets the impression that the purpose is to give the other team the puck in their own zone in order for them to conduct a breakout and be defended against.
Julien coached Plekanec last year, and he has been playing under Jarvis this year. He might not be too far away defensively, especially with Sundstrom and Dackell on the flanks. If he brings some speed and imagination, then he should get a good look.
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