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01-13-2004, 07:49 PM
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Location: Toronto
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Originally Posted by Red Horner
Thats what I said maybe his coach doesn't like young players, you would think if you had a talent like Big John he would play him. :mad:
This is my guess as to why Doherty hasn't seen much ice time so far.

1) veteran depth on the team. Period.

2) the two or so games he played in early in the season weren't exactly stellar efforts by Doherty (this was when a bunch of UNH players were suspended and Doherty was inserted into the line-up)... no SOG, both in the minuses in terms of +/-. My guess is he wasn't quite ready at that point in the season considering the leap between prep school hockey and Division I NCAAs.

3) Mike Hutchens, a second year freshman (another drafted prospect... San Jose, I believe) had been red-shirted all season last year, so this fall was Dick Umile's first opportunity to test him out. Of the rotating #6 defencemen, Hutchens was getting the majority of the games... and at this point, having played about twice the number of games than Doherty so far, he is 0G 0A, and something like -3. I can totally see why playing Hutchens would be a higher priority at the beginning, since he's playing catch-up from a lost season.

Now, however, it is pretty clear that Doherty has played better and produced more in his seven game stint so far... moreover, he seems to have improved in the small numbers of opportunities he's been given. Just from the scoresheets, he seems to have played a cautious, timid game to start ... but lately, from right before the holidays, he's been contributing offensively, shooting the puck more (2 SOG on Saturday), and playing quite physical overall. He looked quite comfortable and confident in the game I watched. I think we'll be hearing about Doherty playing a lot more often in the second half of the season.

And no, I don't think Umile has something against younger players - he has a number of freshman forwards who have been contributing since the beginning of the season (Avs prospect Brett Hemingway being one). On Saturday, four freshmen forwards were in the line up in addition to Doherty, the lone frosh defender. It has less to do with ability, but available space - and like it or not, the newcomers have to make the case to steal spots away from players ahead of them in terms of seniority. I don't think that's unique to college hockey.

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