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01-24-2004, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by G Man 77
Balej made once nice move on an NJ D man at one point, anyone else catch it?... Just went by him with ease.
Unless I missed one, there were three occasions where Balej was one on one with a defenseman: (1) against Colin White, where Balej had an opportunity to go to the outside, but risk White hipchecking him, so he took a weak shot that didn't even hit the net; (2) against Rafalski, where Balej tried to dangle the puck along the offensive blueline, only to have Rafalski punch it out; (3) where Balej used his speed and beat Brown to the outside, only to realize he was behind the goal line and had no where to go, so Brown lightly checked him and Balej shied away.

That's what worries me. He shied away when the opposition played physical with him. He stuck to the perimeter. It was his first game, so I'm not going to rush any judgment, but this has been my concern of Balej for a few years now.

The game as a whole was dominated by New Jersey, I think. You could count the Habs quality scoring chances on one hand. The Devils dominated the transition game and Montreal couldn't keep up with it.

One aspect of the game that Montreal can feel proud about is that they were strong along the boards. NJ beat them in the skating and transition game, but Montreal was able to limit NJ's cycling, and the Habs were able to cycle a good amount themselves. That's one positive the team can take from this game.

Another positive is Markov. He's so smart when it comes to outlet passing and being proactive in intercepting passes. When he's on the ice, there's a dramatic change to Montreal's transition game. It's just too bad he's the only reliable defenseman on the team when it comes to passing.

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