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05-26-2013, 11:31 PM
Giroux tha Damaja
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Originally Posted by BobbyClarkeFan16 View Post
Overly harsh? More like not harsh enough. Take a look at his game. His puck handling skills have completely eroded. Even the simplest of defensive assignments and he turns it into a nightmare and the only consistency you can rely on with Coburn is inconsistency. For $4.5 million a year, I expect a hell of a lot more than what he brings to the table. And the fact that people continue to make excuses for the guy is what baffles me. For 20 to 25 games a year, he's an excellent defenseman. For another 20 to 25 games a year, he's solid player and then for the final 30, he's mediocre to terrible. Yet, I've never seen one player continually get a pass like Coburn because he's big and he can skate. He can't run a power play, he's not a lead pairing defenseman and I'm tired of "waiting for Coburn to come around." He is what he is - a mediocre 2nd pairing defenseman that looks better than what he really is because of the guys he's partnered with.
Thanks for taking the time to write a proper response and not just dismiss me as not knowing what I'm talking about.

I have to give some ground up in the debate when you bring up his salary. Coburn at $4.5 million looked a lot better before the cap roll-back. He needs to play as well as he did in 2011-2012 to be worth that money. But I think that's with in his reach.

I think you're almost right in saying Coburn isn't a lead pairing defender. He teases us with flashes at times that make us wonder we he can't be more than he is but . . . he can't run a power play, I'll grant you that point with out a fight. His puck distribution skills are average, I'll grant you that one too. He can rush the puck when he's forced, and can be pretty effective at gaining the zone when he does, but his otherwise limited play making skills sort of limit the usefulness of that. And no, he can't be trusted with a ton of decision making responsibility in a complicated system. He's a player with some firm limitations, definitely.

The issue at the heart of those criticisms, I feel, is his hockey sense. He does not have a high hockey IQ. But he still has a lot to work with to be an extremely useful player. He is big, extremely rangy, can play very physically, and unlike most big guys who can play in the corners and in front of the net, he's not a liability in transition defense (he's actually pretty good at it). He has the physical tools to play one-on-one defense against any type of forward and not be overmatched. You want a cerebral defender who can be super effective and opportunistic with in a system (ex. Mike Richards)? He's not that. You want a big athlete that you can send out on the ice and say "slow down their best player", Coburn is a very good guy for that role. That's not a #1D, but depending on the skill set of your #1, that could be a really nice #2. It's also worth noting that, like I said earlier, up until last season he has been the very best version of himself at the most important times. He was a force the year we went to the finals, absolutely tireless. Every play-offs he elevates his play.

I also object to the characterization of him as someone who only looks good because of the pairings he's on. He needs to be paired with the right guy for the reasons I listed above, sure. But that doesn't mean he only looks good when he's paired with a better player who can carry his water. I think in the 2011 season he made his biggest contribution to the team's success at any point in his career yet. He did it paired with Grossmann. Grossmann is not a better player than Coburn. The two worked well together for sure, but Grossmann would not have been able to shine if he was asked to cover more ice than he did. Coburn was given a consistent veteran partner and was not asked to contribute much beyond eating up hard minutes on D. He had his best season in that role.

Coburn had a ****** year last year, no doubt about it. But this is a guy who's been playing 25 minutes a night for play-off teams with mediocre goalies since he was 22, and taking tough minutes to boot. I would urge you to make a dispassionate and distanced assessment of him, with a bit longer memory. If we get rid of Coburn and he returns to form, I believe we will miss him dearly, especially when we see what some of our other defensemen look like playing his minutes.

Originally Posted by BobbyClarkeFan16 View Post
Once Laviolette simplified things defensively, the group improved. The fact it took 30+ games into the season to do that is what I'm scratching my head over, especially in a shortened season. With the changes that Holmgren made in the off season and the type of players he brought in, the easiest thing Laviolette could have done was run a simple defensive system. Instead, he tried to show everyone he was in charge and that his system was the right system. It was an unmitigated disaster.

I still have little faith that the club will improve defensively under Laviolette's watch. I just don't see the commitment to defense under his watch and that they need someone on the coaching to step up and get everyone on the same page defensively if Laviolette won't. That's where a Joe Mullen or Craig Berube need to step forward and start asserting the defensive aspect of the game if the head coach won't.
That's a fear of mine too. He's a big, assertive personality and that has been an effective leadership style in the past, but I hope it doesn't make him inflexible. I think Laviolette is a smart enough coach to see the x's and o's. I just hope he's not to stubborn to stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, system wise. Cam Ward isn't playing for us next season, we don't have the goalie we can lean on to play an unmodified version of his system, and our offense is good enough that we can still produce goals even if he dials it back a bit.

I'm still optimistic about this team's chances next year. Our goal tending concerns me more than our coaching.

Last edited by Giroux tha Damaja: 05-26-2013 at 11:42 PM.
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