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10-10-2006, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by EnoughExcuses View Post
We're clearly not watching the same team. In two games I've watched, the Panthers were a team that put a lot of offensive zone pressure against opponents, three men deep cycling the puck and defense occasionally pinching, then used speed to get back to play defense if the puck escaped the zone - the Panthers are playing a puck possession strategy this year, and actually succeeding - they have the puck more often than not, and are excelling at takeaways. Defensemen have been physical and have protected the net far more often than in past seasons. The only problems I've seen is Mezei needs more seasoning, the forward lines need more time to click, and Horton needs to get faster in his decision making when he has the puck. Even Campbell, who's got the least talent in the lineup, plays his heart out and doesn't look out of place on the ice. In fact, he, Kolnik, and Weiss had a bit of chemistry when lined up in the 3rd period. But by the end, the loss of two forwards clearly took a toll and Florida was the more tired of the two teams.
well, there were a few nice chances and a several shifts of sustained pressure last night but in comparison to what the leafs brought? and when you look at the actual scoring chances, what was the differential? it was 7-2 leafs before the end of the 1st period i believe. i haven't seen much evidence of this puck support you're talking about. most of the goals against boston were garbagey - loose pucks in front of the net, bad rebounds and bad defensive coverage all contributed. we had a few nice counters, including some beautiful passing between the 2nd liners but we did not manage a lot of sustained possession. our game in atlanta was just abysmal in that regard. i was actually quite pleased with the start last night - it looked like the guys were hungry, they were throwing their bodies around (jackman, obviously but nate was playing real physical as well). and we got the cycle going a couple of times and generated a scoring chance or two from it. we need more though. if we were truly succeeding with a possession type strategy, our goaltender would not have been peppered with 47 shots.

my biggest concern right now is our D's first pass - we just aren't consistently generating any speed out of our end into the neutral zone and most of the time, that happens via passing (a pass will move the puck faster than any one skater can...). more often than not, the D is holding the puck too long and then turning it over trying to make tough passes after being pinched off by the forechecker. we've seen this in all three games. could be a lack of puck support by forwards; difficult to tell watching on tv.

we've done a better job in front of the net and i do see the Dmen improving as we go on. i like what i've seen from mezei so far in terms of his skating and a bit of physical play (the other stuff will come around i believe). allen has the tools but he and van ryn have been coughing the puck up too much exiting the zone. jbo looks phenomonal. i think he's going to end up the year as one of the top handful of Dmen in the league, not in points but in terms of overall play.

so there are positives. let's give the boys a few weeks to get things going but we don't have to keep our rose colored glasses on at all times. where's the fun in that?

by the way, who do we think will get the call if either newy or olesz have to miss any time? peltonen's presumably still a week or two away at least. jacina looks like he's on fire up in rochester.

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