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01-28-2004, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Munchausen
Balej isn't the strongest, he's IMO average in that regard and will probably need to fill his frame a bit more, but I like his overall game more than I do for Ribeiro's and even more Dagenais'. His speed is the key. It gets him out of trouble. If Balej was to be used on a line with Ribs and Dags, it would be to cover their ***** when they fail to come back in time. It would also be to create some open ice with his speed in order to let the other two settle in the offensive zone and get into receiving position (especially Dagenais). From what I saw to date, I'm honestly impressed with his willingness to work both ends of the rink and this was something I thought he would struggle with the most.
Truthfully, I've been left unimpressed with Balej's defensive game at every level. Including his past three games. He made numerous turnovers in the neutral zone, which is to be expected from a rookie. That's precisely the point: he's a rookie. Essentially Ribeiro and Dagenais are NHL rookies as well. A team can't head into the final stretch of the season with their second line consisting of rookie players that struggle along the boards and are questionable on the defensive side of the ice. There needs to be a veteran balance in there.

Originally Posted by Plekanec
We did'nt see the same third period! Balej looked alot more confident, especially along the board where he protected the puck very well...

He for sure did'nt earn a spot for himself last night, but what he showed in the third is alot promising and we just saw a sample of what he can do! He should have a better game against the Wild tomorrow and prove you wrong!
I'm not sure if you read what I wrote, but I don't see how Balej can prove me 'wrong'. I commented on what I saw from Balej thus far, and even said I'd rather see him on that second line instead of Dagenais. The only way he can make me wrong is if he struggles and remains entirely unproductive.

He had a good shift or two in the third. Again though, he was matched up against the weaker Buffalo defensemen--which is a weak, soft group of defensemen as it is. It was certainly nice to see, and enough for me to want to see more of Balej, but not enough to make me think he's not a perimeter player that needs to work on some fundamental parts of his game.

It'll take a good long time for him to prove me wrong in that sense. If he does, then that's wonderful.

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