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10-07-2006, 07:35 AM
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The Souray Dilemma

I don't want to judge Souray harshly based on last night's game. This thread isn't intended for that. But there is a dilemma right now with regards to Souray:

On the one hand, Souray's a big, mean body who has a terrific shot and adds a dimension to the powerplay. In my view, Souray's sheriff-mentality; how he protects his teammates, plays a mean and vengeful game is important towards team building and unity. He also polices the game a little from Montreal's standpoint. Without him, the team loses a lot in the toughness arena.

When Peters ran over Begin, and subsequently Montreal scored on the powerplay, Souray went right after Peters.

Souray's a borderline heavyweight, but his importance is more in the policing and intimidation department than it is actually fighting. He's a real pain to play against; Souray gets away with a lot of slashing and cross-checking, even in the new NHL. And his slashes are brutal.

Remove him from the team and there's not one player that adds this dimension. The team also loses a dimension on the powerplay.

On the other hand, Souray really does get exposed by quick, shifty players. The Sabres keyed in on Souray every time they were on the ice. They always put the puck in his corner on the ice, and they always got the shiftiest of players out there against Souray.

So here's the dilemma: keeping Souray in this new NHL means that he'll be exposed. On the other hand, not keeping Souray will expose Montreal and lose a real good asset.

I think the solution to this dilemma is relatively simple: play Souray less, and play him with a better puck-moving defenseman, who can at times overcommit to Souray's side in support, but has the skating ability to get back into position fast. Dandenault, perhaps.

My concern mainly lies in the fact that Montreal's coaching staff didn't even try to keep Souray away from Afinogenov...

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