Chunking is why players rarely improve ice awareness
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08-21-2013, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Originally Posted by
Leetch at least in his time was a top notch skater. The worst aspect was maybe his speed which wasn't up there with Scott Niedermayer but was still very good. Leetch was the most intuitive player--apart from an older Gretzky that I can remember in watching the Rangers since 1971-72. It's not to criticize DZ but he's just not at that level and is never going to be. Current d-man maybe capable of that is Erik Karlsson--that's about it and Erik's career has to pan out more.
From watching the playoffs last year actually McDonagh at times was making the kind of plays you mention all over the ice--as a kind of rover. McDonagh does not have the same creative and intuitive IQ for making the kinds of plays that Leetch use to make but he does have enough speed and mobility to intercept/read plays one play right after another. Del Zotto does not have that sense or that extra skating gear.
The first time I saw Leetch by the way was right after he was drafted and he was playing a summer tournament along with guys like Clark Donatelli. Greg Brown and maybe Granato and Corey Millen--a lot of the same guys who went on to play for the 1988 Olympic team. There was a visiting Russian team that was touring the US and long time ago but I think the US team won. In any case Leetch looked fantastic. My first impression was 'Bobby Orr'--has just resurrected and the Rangers drafted him! Hoo--****ing--ray! Leetch pretty much owned the puck--he was picking slapshots out of the air with his stick--knocking them straight down--whirling around and bringing the puck up the ice--skating through and around the other team. Leetch had tremendous hand /eye coordination and an acute intuitive sense of where a play was going. That's why he's an HOF'er and as far as the '94 team--if I had to rank players in that playoffs 1. Leetch--and it's not even that close to # 2. Messier 3. Richter.
A good example though of a player who did not have great skating but also IMO had a great sense of where the play was going was also on that team and that's Steve Larmer who even though he only played a short time for us before he retired was one of the most underrated players that I've seen in a Ranger uniform.
couldn't agree with you more. Leetch has definitely spoiled any of us who grew up watching him. We will probably never see another guy like him in a rangers uniform. I just wish the Rangers could find a guy who could approach how good he was at stopping clearing attempts on the power play. His ability to not only stop pucks from leaving the zone and those quick little agility plays he'd make with the puck near the blue line would keep so many plays alive and really increased offensive zone time on the PP. That puts a ton of pressure on opposing PKers. Keeping them out there 1 min as opposed to 30-45 seconds can make a big diff in a game. Not only on that shift, but in the momentum of the whole game and those PKers effectiveness as the game wears on. Those little plays tilt the ice. And the team has been dreadful, absolutely dreadful at extending zone time on the PP over Torts' tenure. If they lose the puck, it's getting sent all the way down, almost guaranteed. To me, it's that anticipation back there that will really help the PP. It's not so much having a deadly shot from the point or any of that mess. it's about vision and anticipation and keeping plays alive. You can have 3 carl hagelins and 2 john moores out there and you won't accomplish a damn thing because it's not speed but about vision and anticipation. speaking of which Kovalev was underrated in this skillset as well. But yes, there are far fewer Steve Larmers in the game today. Many more Cal Clutterbucks.
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