Until VK improves his skating speed he will never be a consistent NHL player. Meaning...he will eternally be a 7th/8th defenseman who gets exposed any time he needs to win a race to a puck.
Don't get me wrong, he works hard in practice and shows that he is battling to get back into the lineup, but I simply don't see any improvement in his overall game or in particular in his main area of weakness - skating speed - that shows me he will be a permanent fixture on the blue line.
How we can go this long into the season with the offense being so obviously below average....in on an AHL level....is beyond me. Meanwhile, we continue to sit on a gold-mine in defensive prospects, watch home-grown options languish in the minors, and refuse to do anything to solve this teams problems. Patience is a virtue true, but sometimes, you actually DO have to act.
Oh yeah, our powerplay sucks
We need to pick up a win tonight. Down 2 early makes things difficult, but the Avalanche goalies hemorrhage goals on a consistent basis.
Trotz mystifies me sometimes. He expects our defensemen to be shut down d-men. Okay - I get that. I get that he wants to setup the powerplay through Shea Weber. I do not get that he somehow expects our defensemen to play shut-down defense in a tightly controlled system AND they still have to be the catalysts for our offense.
Additionally, I do not understand how a 28 year old forward with only 11 games experience in the NHL has seen more 1st line wing minutes then anyone outside of JP Dumont on this team. This isn't just borderline stupidity, it is irrational and dumbfounding. The 6 points in the last 23 games is indicative of that. I like Ward, but I like him as a grinder on the third or fourth line. I do NOT like him as a first line scoring winger.
I'll go back to my original contention that Poile's plan all along was to leave Jones and Hornqvist with the Ads as long as humanly possible and tread water at or above .500. The team bought him more time than expected and still may if it wins the next two.
Add Nichol and potentially even Sully into the mix and Poile clearly won't make a major move anytime prior to the trade deadline.
If you want to believe they have a master plan, Ward has stayed on the 1st line by playing a style similar to Jones, who will get the spot upon his return. If not, somebody else needs to be moved up-- we aren't even a one line team at this point.
Last night had a month's worth of bad bounces (I'll even through in Zanon's whiff on the 1st goal as a "bad bounce" since it's the holiday season) leading to goals. The real problem is we still only muster 2 goals at best.
Hopefully, Bonk's two goals last night will get him going.
This team is going to remain screwed up for the remainder of this year because it has too many spare parts at forward (Bonk, Fiddler, Peverly, Smithson, Belak... Ortmeyer...really including Tootoo, Ward, and Nichol.... and even Legwand) and too many guys that aren't quite ready for prime time (Hornqvist, Jones and Pihlstrom).
We had a bubble in our pipeline where there were several years of no new talent coming in at the forward position (who has come in since Tootoo other than Rads, which, by the way, compounded his disasterous decision to go back to Russia). It was masked by the signing of Kariya, Arnott and Dumont and exposed by the loss of Kariya, Sully and Rads.
The real question is how does it sort itself out for next year and beyond, which I think looks decent with the coming of Hornqvist, Pihlstrom, Jones, Wilson, Spaling and Santorelli. And Rads.
I think that is why Poile is slow to make a move now. Add financial issues and Poiles general nature...
"Tread water near .500 and try to slip in" wasn't as catchy as "It stays with you" but I think we are stuck with it.
He is average in every way, he could be useful to another team if they were desperate but he is small and has average speed, he has to play the angles and doesnt even do that consistently well.
Trotz thought he would replace Zidlicky on the PP but it just didnt pan out.
Wow that is bizarre.
So is he destined for scattered play for the balance of the year?
Too bad I told a buddy to take him as a sleeper in his pool since it is a very deep league...I just didn't think he'd be a press box regular. I wasn't expecting 25 min and 40pts either...more like 25-30 with 18ish minutes.