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12-07-2006, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Murray was solid last season. This season, he's been brutal. I'd agree he's improved of late, and I think he's been better at C than he was on the wing, but he's still not playing well enough.
What frustrates me the most about Murray is he's so blatant with his hooking, slashing, and so on. He's been so careless with his stick this year.
If you take last year's Murray and watch him play, he's completely unrecognizable this season; he's moving slower, his method of bodychecking is different, he's losing all his board battles. I've been wondering if he's out of shape, but I can't imagine Carbonneau playing him if he was.
In any event, the desperation, fearlessness, and intensity that Murray brought last year is non-existent now, and I would like to see him replaced.
Frankly, given the fact that Montreal doesn't have the personel to ice a fourth-line crash-line that can be defensively responsible & really hurt the opposition on the forecheck, I think the fourth line should be molded into more of what the third line was last season: defensively responsible, but primary goal is to score, skate hard, forecheck hard.
Not an energy line, but more of a kid-line. Stick Plekanec, another skater (Kostitsyn?) along with Begin, and just let them forecheck hard, skate hard, and provide energy and some scoring chances/goals.
It's better than what the fourth line has been for the greater part of this season: listless and a defensive liability.
Really, I'd prefer the Buffalo method in putting out two gritty players who have some semblance of offensive skills in Gaustad and Mair, who can play like Begin: big hits, fast skating, good fundamentals, crashing the net. Basically a safe energy line with a small bit of skill. But Begin can't do it on his own, so it would be nice if the team recognized this and made the appropriate change in philosophy, or change in personnel.
Either way, the fourth line shouldn't be a line that's a concern.
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