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10-29-2006, 01:55 AM
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1. Lats (I never saw him play in the pre-season) and I know he's a young kid who will need time, but I think he should have stayed in Junior for another year and one year in the AHL. It's not that he hasn't registered a point, but rather that he's NOT that strong on the boards and he hasn't caught up to the speed of the game. A natural progression just like Higgins, Perezhogin and Plekanec would have been much better than throwing him into the fire.
Whatever adjustments Latendresse needs to make to play in the NHL, they wouldn't have been made playing junior. He really shouldn't be on the second line, but if he can figure out a way to put the strong elements of his game together (forecheck, hitting, defensive coverage) he'll be a vital asset to the team. I think that was the idea when he started out on the 4th line, but Begin can't handle the growing pains all on his own. Latendresse on the third line with Bonk and Johnson makes sense for a lot of reasons.

3. Begin is playing like crap... he lost his hockey sense in the off-season. I have never seen him so out of poistion in the defensive zone and I can't understand why? His offensive zeal last year was a mirage, that's for sure. Murray hasn't looked that good either!
Begin's been playing fine, but he's getting caught with his linemates mistakes. Between Latendresse in previous games and Murray he ends up being the only forward back in the zone to defend the rush. I think it's not a reflection of Begin, but of who he's playing with. I suspect Plekanec will end up back on that line, which will help him out.

5. Niiminnaa is good for 2-3 giveaways a game.... Brisebois without the offense!
Niinimaa is capable of playing better, Carbonneau just needs to figure out how to get it out of him. I think he could use some PP minutes to bolster his confidence. Janne actually has a pretty good shot when he has room.

6. The REAL Markov has yet to show up this year. Why does he NEVER look like he's having any fun? Another Russian just over for the American $$... guess we'll find out in the off-season.
Markov's having a rough start to the season. He's having trouble making outlet passes, but that will pass and he'll be as good as he was last season.

7. Why can't we learn from Buffalo and roll 4 offensive lines?

Higgins---Koivu--Ryder (Don't fix what ain't broke!)
Lats--Begin---Kots (Call him up... he's earned a shot more than Lats!)
Did you watch the game tonight? The Samsonov-Kovalev-Perezhogin line was fantastic, and you want to play Sammy back on the third line again? I liked what Lats did tonight when paired with Johnson and Bonk, as well.

8. Neither Huet or Abby have give me the work fuzzy feeling about our goalies...yet?
Aebischer stood on his head tonight to keep us in the game, making 3 or 4 unreal stops. He's been playing fantastic. Huet is admittedly off to a slow start, but I think he'll get some momentum going soon enough.

Just my opinion.

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