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09-03-2013, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by JCrusty View Post
I don't think it should be thought of like this. He scores goals when the game is no longer relevant so barring constant and dramatic comebacks, they're pretty useless. However, I think it's better to think of Nash's goal scoring ability as a B+ on top of which he scores goals when both teams are floating as opposed to an grade A scoring ability but he scores useless goals often.

Remembering back to the beginning of the season when Nash was basically breaking through defense every other game and for those first 8 games or so, he out dangling and out maneuvering at a Malkin+ level. After that, he stopped doing that almost completely. His goals from thereafter were less pretty and had a lot more to do with structured goals and I think it's a bit problematic when you don't utilize that skill set. His size may not be used much in a physical manner but what it is used for is scoring goals.

Watching Gaborik's demotion to the 3rd and 4th line, disregard everything that lead to him getting there, skill sets are not being used. Torts has his reasoning for constructing the top six the way he did but that was his comfort zone and Gaborik wasn't a part of what he had in mind which frankly was stupid because there should be a lot more focus on your 40 goal scorer.

In any case, Nash's pointless goals are a product of the other team letting up defensively which leads me to believe that the reason why Hagelin - Stepan - Nash worked well is because of Stepan and Hagelin's puck carrying and skating. Step understands how to create space through the neutral zone and skates well. Hagelin skating ability is as good as anyone and the both of them are both actual threats with the puck in the neutral zone to inside the offensive zone as opposed to a Ryan Callahan, an irrelevant Gaborik in Tortorella's dump-in/anti-carry-the-puck-into-the-offensive-zone, or a Richards who could barely skate at an NHL level last season. Our LW depth was and is pretty meh and so there weren't any competent LWs who were able to create an offensive threat so that pretty much left only Hagelin. Basically, putting that seafood Paella together, Hagelin-Stepan-Nash wasn't magical at all. It was just good complimentary skill sets.

Nash's playoff performance was ten degrees of meh but considering he had to deal with the top defensive pairings that had the same goal as McDonagh when it came to OVechkin, it's not entirely his fault. When you look like a guy with Ovi who uses that explosiveness to create space and needs just a sliver of time to get a shot through, McDonagh was a good match on defense for us. His skating and sound positioning negates a lot of Ovi's strengths and it ended up being Ovi's linemates that did the bulk of the scoring on that top line.

When the intensity picks up in the PO and you're playing against a top 16 team every game and a top 16 top defensive pairing where strategies of matching lineups are so crucial, the fault isn't entirely with the player who was shutdown.

During the RS and in the PO especially OT, the transition game of Ottawa that left many of us mouthing off Torts for his complete incompetence to adjust to Walrus's speedy transition game executed by speedy young forwards is a part of why our top players always disappear during the playoffs. Our top guys are shut down and Torts didn't have a response. There isn't always a perfect way to counter being shut down but his style of not getting the defense involved and keeping the bottom six to largely defensive roles killed us in some ways. In 11-12, aside from Brad Richards, our defense did most of the important work. GWG in wins 9 and 10: Girardi & Girardi. GWG in win 8: Michael Del Zotto (opening goal BR), GWG in win 7 Staal, GWG in win 6 a rare Gaborik appearance set up by BR, GWG in win 5, a rookie Kreider, GWG in win 4, Girardi (other Ranger goal from Staal), GWG in win 3, Kreider's 1st NHL goal, win 2 Brian Boyle in a game where we won 1-0, game 1: Richards.

It's too easy for the top players like Nash, Gaborik, Stepan, and even a Callahan to be shut down in the PO. We need a few of the bottom 6 guys to be able to contribute offensively and not only provide offense but also allow for greater flexibility in terms of line ups and match ups. The defense need to become a part of the offense in a dramatic way at times to take the pressure off the forwards who are going to be facing powerhouses during the playoffs. There's no doubt in my mind that we have a lot more depth than last year and certainly a lot more scoring in our bottom six with the new additions and our center depth. If AV is able to convert on the top 9 and bottom 3 "energy line", then I think we will see a lot more production out of Nash and co during the playoffs.

His useless goals reflects his ability to work with time and space as a goal scorer and the lineups has a lot to do with how much time and space he has.
absolutely awesome post. Thanks for pulling all of that information.

Padded goals are meh, but every player has them. Boyle had, what, 4 goals last year? 1 empty net and one off his ass... Richards had 5-7, including one off of Dan Ellis' skate from the board, and one off of a Sabres Defensemen. These goals happen, I don't think a regular 30+ goal scorer would even have the luck to have 80-90% of their goals to be "padding goals"...

hell, if they were, this guy doesn't have luck, it just goes to show that some players know their position on the ice in specific situations, and are able to read the game in front of them.... It shows their awareness, regardless of those goals being "meaningful" or not. Chicago displayed this immensely last season. There were games that they looked like they were sure to lose (especially during their win streak in the beginning of the season), and yet you could watch them claw back from a 2-1 loss to a 4-2 win in a matter of 6-8 game minutes.. Luck? Maybe, but they CREATED that luck, and thats really where the hockey mind shines

Just my opinion.

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