Caps fan here (yeah, I know: Boo! Hisss! ), and I was wondering if you could tell me how the Hurricane Nation, in general felt about the Battaglia deal? I felt that the 'Canes did a great job in getting Vrbata for him, but how did you like Battaglia as a player? Anything I should look for when he's on the ice?
Battaglia plays a power forward-lite type game that Carolina has grown to be known for in the past few years. He's a very streaky player as well. He isn't afraid to get physical, but often loses that aspect of his game when the goals aren't coming for him. He is easily distracted and generally was no use to us at the beginning of last season. During his entire tenure here he could have been playing from anywhere. The first line, the third line, the fourth line, it didn't matter. His first real home came on the BBC line and even the success of that was short lived for him. He also has the reputation of a womanizer and heavy drinker around the triangle crowd. Not so sure how much truth there is to that so i'm not going to go into detail, but alas, it's something to look out for.
On the up swing, when Bates is on he's on fire. There were stretches, like during the playoff race before we went to the SCF, that Bates was the only thing keeping us in games. A 5-point performace comes to mind. He plays a game a bit like Erik Cole when he's dead on and thats something that is very useful. If he can learn to use that consistantly, he's going to be a fine player for the Caps. I just can't wait to see the first Caps vs. Canes game, this should add even more fuel to the fire.
The general aire about the Hurricanes faithful when Bates was traded was a mixture of shock and elation. I don't remember too many fans, of the male persuasion that is, mourning his loss too greatly.
Bates is kind of a bum ... a loveable bum, but a bum none the less. He's had two GREAT stretches of hockey in his entire NHL career and has managed to ride them to a healthy living despite doing absolutley nothing of note for 100 games at a time.
Honestly ... Bates loves the nightlife a bit too much to be an effective pro athlete. If he'd slow down off the ice, I've got a feeling his play would become much more complete and consistent. He's capable of being an effective 2nd line winger in the league ... but only for short bursts.