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The Myth of the Top Lefty D-man

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Old
12-04-2011, 12:49 PM
  #26
STL fan in IA
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While the Blues defense has been pretty good so far, I still think that this team could really use a top pairing lefty d-man. The problem is that it's very hard to acquire one. Trading for one is difficult because teams don't trade these guys that often and when they do, they ask for the moon. Signing one as a UFA is usually very expensive...and the player has to want to play in your city for your team. Drafting and developing one yourself takes a lot of time and a lot of patience and in the end, the kid might not develop into what you had hoped.

I really like Cole but I don't see his potential quite as high as some others. I see him more as a 2nd pairing d-man than a 1st pairing guy...but maybe he turns into a decent 1st pairing option. The Blues could really use someone NOW though. I've liked Gleason's game for quite a while and I'd love to have him. Acquiring him would be the hard part. Assuming Carolina stays out of the playoff race come the trade deadline, I could certainly see them being willing to trade their pending UFA d-man if it looks like he won't be staying with them. Would the Blues be willing to trade for him knowing they could possibly lose him after only a couple of months? Would they try to wait to get him or someone else come July 1? Lots of things to ponder. I think the Blues defense is "ok" for now but to take that next big step, this is the upgrade they need IMO.

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12-04-2011, 01:59 PM
  #27
rumrokh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STL fan in IA View Post
While the Blues defense has been pretty good so far, I still think that this team could really use a top pairing lefty d-man. The problem is that it's very hard to acquire one. Trading for one is difficult because teams don't trade these guys that often and when they do, they ask for the moon. Signing one as a UFA is usually very expensive...and the player has to want to play in your city for your team. Drafting and developing one yourself takes a lot of time and a lot of patience and in the end, the kid might not develop into what you had hoped.

I really like Cole but I don't see his potential quite as high as some others. I see him more as a 2nd pairing d-man than a 1st pairing guy...but maybe he turns into a decent 1st pairing option. The Blues could really use someone NOW though. I've liked Gleason's game for quite a while and I'd love to have him. Acquiring him would be the hard part. Assuming Carolina stays out of the playoff race come the trade deadline, I could certainly see them being willing to trade their pending UFA d-man if it looks like he won't be staying with them. Would the Blues be willing to trade for him knowing they could possibly lose him after only a couple of months? Would they try to wait to get him or someone else come July 1? Lots of things to ponder. I think the Blues defense is "ok" for now but to take that next big step, this is the upgrade they need IMO.
On Cole's potential, I think it's clearly first pairing material. Jackman and Colaiacovo, for example, have proven to be fine second pairing guys and I think Cole has the ability to be a distinct step ahead of them. Will he get there? Will it be soon? Will he just be serviceable in that role and will the Blues wish they had made a deal for someone who stands out?

Dunno. That's why this thread exists, basically. It looks a lot like they're grooming Cole for that purpose, but if he isn't ready for that role next year and they fall on their faces in free agency, that's bad ****ing news.
There are good options other than Gleason, but I don't know how likely they are. Some teams are represented multiple times on that list. The Rangers have Staal, McDonagh, and Del Zotto. Even then, it's about finding a team willing to make a move for assets with which you are willing to part.

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12-04-2011, 08:41 PM
  #28
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Looking ahead, we kind of lack that 2nd and 3rd guy on the left side behind Cole. Huskins, Carlo and Jackman are UFAs after this season, and none are a guarantee to come back. Russell has proven to be an adequate contributor and is signed through 2013, but he hasnt shown me that he deserves time over Cole, Carlo, or Huskins when everyone gets healthy.

I really hope Hitch does the right thing and takes his boy Russell out when Carlo can return. The two players are pretty redundant, and IMO Carlo is better on the power play and in his own zone. Also, him and Petro have good chemistry and play well together. Russell is a better skater, but I think that our defense would value Cole's size and versatility more. Also, I love the idea of a Cole-Polak pairing, that duo could really match the physical ability of any line, probably the Blues' two best athletes.

Im rambling but I think we have good options already on this team. If its a good deal, I wouldnt be opposed to making a move, but who is everyone willing to give up to get this defenseman? One of the underachievers (Stewart, Berglund)? the prospects (Schwartz, Cole, McRae, Allen)? Other (Dags, Sobotka, picks)? Im certainly not moving any of Backes, Oshie, Perron, Tarasenko, Steen, Petro, Shats, or even Polak. Carlo or Russell would probably be gone in any trade scenario, but neither would have much value in a trade, especially for a good defenseman. Gonna have to give up something to get something.

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12-04-2011, 08:55 PM
  #29
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I think our most glaring weakness on defense is that no-one is clearing the crease. We have guys who are capable of this, ( Polak, Cole and Jackman ), but for whatever reason don't seem to be doing so consistently. There is a school of thought that says big, mean defenders in the Jeff Beukaboom, Mark Tinordi mould aren't necessary in the post-lockout NHL, but I don't subscribe to this. I think anyone who watched last years final, or the annual early exit of the Capitals, will know what I'm talking about. The need for a strong physical presence may not be as apparent now, during the regular season when the team is do ing well, but I think it will be an area of weakness that teams like Chicago, San Jose and others can exploit down the stretch and in the PO's. With the deparure of EJ and Brewer and the subsequent additions of Shattenkirk and Russell, (which I am not criticising), we lost a lot of size and grit that has never been replaced. I don't think we necessarily need a top pairing lefty D man, but I do think we need a Hal Gill/Colin White type 6'4" 230 lb guy(s) that will protect our goalies and let them function optimally by clearing the crease and clearing the zone.

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12-04-2011, 10:10 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simon in canada View Post
I think our most glaring weakness on defense is that no-one is clearing the crease. We have guys who are capable of this, ( Polak, Cole and Jackman ), but for whatever reason don't seem to be doing so consistently. There is a school of thought that says big, mean defenders in the Jeff Beukaboom, Mark Tinordi mould aren't necessary in the post-lockout NHL, but I don't subscribe to this. I think anyone who watched last years final, or the annual early exit of the Capitals, will know what I'm talking about. The need for a strong physical presence may not be as apparent now, during the regular season when the team is do ing well, but I think it will be an area of weakness that teams like Chicago, San Jose and others can exploit down the stretch and in the PO's. With the deparure of EJ and Brewer and the subsequent additions of Shattenkirk and Russell, (which I am not criticising), we lost a lot of size and grit that has never been replaced. I don't think we necessarily need a top pairing lefty D man, but I do think we need a Hal Gill/Colin White type 6'4" 230 lb guy(s) that will protect our goalies and let them function optimally by clearing the crease and clearing the zone.
I won't say you're wrong, but every goal and most good chances against the Blues are on game-by-game highlight reels on nhl.com. If you can show me a pattern of the Blues needing to clear the crease and failing to do so, I'd be very interested. As it is, I'm skeptical that this is an issue. Mostly because I've watched every minute of every game and I don't see this, but I'm open to the idea that this is and/or will be an issue in the future. I just need some evidence.

Also, can you target some good (particularly non-elite) defensemen on good teams in the league who regularly do the crease-clearing for their teams?

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12-05-2011, 01:14 AM
  #31
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While there's a decent number of goals that get by due to players making screens it's not a lack of pressure or something that doesn't effect every team. There's also the fact that those kinds of size first defensemen are going to give up breakaway goals, getting beat to the outside, having pucks dangled past them and be nullified just as much as the fast players with good stick skills that play the puck more than the body. It's a tradeoff, and while balance helps it's not going to be absolutely effective one way or another. That's why the top pairing guy is impossible dream, someone who can actually keep up with the play but intimidate or force guys to the perimeter... most teams want and need that guy though so getting one is good fortune not good decision making in effect.

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12-12-2011, 11:15 AM
  #32
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Strickland mentioned in his blog that Doug Armstrong could be interested in getting a veteran defenseman for the stretch drive (and playoffs).

If true, that would seem to indicate that the Blues are starting to think this team can make a run in the playoffs this season.

Any interest in Douglas Murray (San Jose) or John Erskine (Washington)? Both are left-handed with very friendly contracts. (both one-year after this season, Murray $2.5 million, Erskine $1.5 million).

Which Blues prospects would you NOT trade?

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12-12-2011, 05:03 PM
  #33
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Wouldn't Huskins coming back basically be that? I'd love to get Murray. I'm not sure what I'd give up for him exactly, however.

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12-13-2011, 12:44 AM
  #34
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Originally Posted by execwrite View Post
Strickland mentioned in his blog that Doug Armstrong could be interested in getting a veteran defenseman for the stretch drive (and playoffs).

If true, that would seem to indicate that the Blues are starting to think this team can make a run in the playoffs this season.

Any interest in Douglas Murray (San Jose) or John Erskine (Washington)? Both are left-handed with very friendly contracts. (both one-year after this season, Murray $2.5 million, Erskine $1.5 million).

Which Blues prospects would you NOT trade?
Is there really a point to acquiring players like that? Are they really an upgrade over our guys, especially after Huskins comes back?

The only move I can see really being worth it is acquiring someone a step above. We seem to have enough depth already, and while Murray or Erskine may be a small upgrade, I'm not sure that it'd be big enough to justify giving up assets, especially considering they won't have been with the team all season, playing in our system.

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Old
12-13-2011, 10:55 PM
  #35
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There should also be a Myth of the #1 Center to complement this thread. IMO that's a far greater myth than the potential acquisition of the top lefty D.

Really nice list, rumrokh. I've added some data to the list, ages as of October 2012 and salaries.

*Means they signed new contract this year.

Suter 27, (last) $3.5M
Campbell 33, (4) $7,142,875 ea.
Beauchemin 32, (last) $3.65M
Phaneuf 27, (2) $6.5, $5.5
Keith 29, (11, descending, no point in listing)
Chara 35, (6) $6M, $8M, $7M, $7M, $5M, $4M
Fowler 20, (1) ELC, then RFA
Enstrom 27, (1) $4.5M
McDonagh 23, (1) ELC then RFA
Bouwmeester 29, (2) $6.6M ea.
*Tyutin 29, (6) $4M, $4.5M, $4.75M, $5M, $4.75M, $4M
Seidenberg 31, (3) $3.25M, $3.25M, $3.5M
Garrison 27, (last) $700K
*Ehrhoff 30, (9) $8M, $4M, $4M, $4M, $4M, $3M, $1M, $1M, $1M
Lidstrom no point in listing
Martin 31, (3) $4M, $5M, $5M
Streit 34, (1) $4.1M
Visnovsky 36, (1) $3M
Pitkanen 29, (2) $4.5M ea
MacDonald 26, (2) $575K ea
*J. Johnson 25, (6) $3.5M, $3.5M, $5M, $5M, $5M, $5M
Edler 26 (1) $3.25M
*Kronwall 31, (7) $4.5M, $6M, $6M, $6M, $5.5M, $3.5M, $1.75M
*Brewer not applicable
Quincey 27, (last) $3.25M RFA
*Hedman 21, (5) $3M, $3M, $4M, $5.75M, $4.25M
Hamhuis 29, (4) $4.25M ea
Nikitin not applicable
Pronger not applicable
Mitchell 35, (last) $3.5M
Vlasic 25 (1) $3.7M then UFA
Del Zotto 22, (last = ELC)
Kuba 35, (last) $3.7M
*Giordano 29, (4) $3.5M, $4M, $4M, $4M
Kulikov 21, (last = ELC)
Leddy 21, (1) ELC then RFA
Liles 31, (last) $4.55M
Gorges 28, (last) $2.5M
Gonchar 38, (1) $5.5M
Carle 28, (last) $3.8M
Timonen 37, (1) $3M
Orpik 32, (2) $3.75M ea
Daley 29, (5) $3.5M, $3.5M, $3.5M, $3.1M, $2.7M
Tallinder 33, (2) $3.5M ea
Gunnarsson 25, (1) $1.25M then RFA
Yandle 26, (4) $5M, $5.25M, $5.5M, $5.75M
*Coburn 27, (4) $4M, $5.5M, $4.5M, $4M, modified NTC starts w/new contract
Souray 36, (last) $1.65M
Goligoski 27, (last) $2.75M is RFA
Smid 26, (1) $2.25M
Leopold 32, (1) $3M
Meszaros 27 (2) $4.75M, $5.5M
Butler 26, (1) $1.2M then RFA
B. Stuart 32, (last) $3.75M
Hjalmarsson 25, (2) $3.5M ea
Gleason 29, (last) $3.5M
Lydman 35, (1) $3M
Harrison 29, (1) $750K
Gardiner 22, (2) ELC then RFA
Barker 26, (last) $2.25M is RFA
Scandella 22 (1) ELC then RFA
*Hejda 34, (3) $3.25M ea

PS – How does Philly have five LD playing 20+ minutes?

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Old
12-14-2011, 03:14 AM
  #36
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UFA ($ earned this year)
Suter – 27 ($3.5M)
Beauchemin – 32 ($3.65M)
Garrison – 27 ($700K)
Mitchell – 35 ($3.5M)
Kuba – 35 ($3.7M)
Liles – 31 ($4.55M)
Gorges – 28 ($2.5M)
Carle – 28 ($3.8M)
Souray – 36 ($1.65M)
Brad Stuart – 32 ($3.75)
Gleason – 29 ($3.5M)

That's the current rental/summer UFA market.

Obviously, everyone would be interested in Suter. That seems like an extreme longshot and the only way he arrives IMO is UFA after the season for top dollar. Beauchemin and Gleason are the other two from that list who might be available before the deadline who'd be possible solutions going forward.

If you then remove new-conference teams from the trade list, plus a few others (Brewer, Pronger, Campbell, Chara for common sense reasons), here's what's left of guys signed past this year:

Phaneuf 27, (2) $6.5, $5.5
Fowler 20, (1) ELC, then RFA
McDonagh 23, (1) ELC then RFA
Bouwmeester 29, (2) $6.6M ea.
Seidenberg 31, (3) $3.25M, $3.25M, $3.5M
*Ehrhoff 30, (9) $8M, $4M, $4M, $4M, $4M, $3M, $1M, $1M, $1M
Martin 31, (3) $4M, $5M, $5M
Streit 34, (1) $4.1M
Visnovsky 36, (1) $3M
Pitkanen 29, (2) $4.5M ea
MacDonald 26, (2) $575K ea
*J. Johnson 25, (6) $3.5M, $3.5M, $5M, $5M, $5M, $5M
Edler 26 (1) $3.25M
Quincey 27, (last) $3.25M RFA
*Hedman 21, (5) $3M, $3M, $4M, $5.75M, $4.25M
Hamhuis 29, (4) $4.25M ea
Vlasic 25 (1) $3.7M then UFA
Del Zotto 22, (last = ELC)
*Giordano 29, (4) $3.5M, $4M, $4M, $4M
Kulikov 21, (last = ELC)
Gonchar 38, (1) $5.5M
Timonen 37, (1) $3M
Orpik 32, (2) $3.75M ea
Tallinder 33, (2) $3.5M ea
Gunnarsson 25, (1) $1.25M then RFA
*Yandle 26, (4) $5M, $5.25M, $5.5M, $5.75M
*Coburn 27, (4) $4M, $5.5M, $4.5M, $4M, modified NTC starts w/new contract
Smid 26, (1) $2.25M
Leopold 32, (1) $3M
Meszaros 27 (2) $4.75M, $5.5M
Butler 26, (1) $1.2M then RFA
Lydman 35, (1) $3M
Harrison 29, (1) $750K
Gardiner 22, (2) ELC then RFA
Barker 26, (last) $2.25M is RFA
*Hejda 34, (3) $3.25M ea

Some of these guys seem fairly untouchable (e.g, Fowler, Kulikov). Some are really only 2d pairing guys, which doesn't improve the situation since the Blues need a top guy.

IMO, on this list, getting any of Jack Johnson, Keith Yandle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Braydon Coburn or Alex Edler would be a major coup. They'd be expensive and unlikely but would plug that hole. Those would be the kind of trades you don't see coming in the sense that putting together proposals for any of them would likely be laughed off by fans on both sides. Right now, it's LA most in panic mode but they still see Johnson as a major part of their core.

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12-14-2011, 01:18 PM
  #37
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I'll take Gleason please! The Canes are shaping up to be sellers at the trade deadline so it's certainly possible. At the same time, it's also still a long ways away.

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12-14-2011, 01:25 PM
  #38
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Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
UFA

Some of these guys seem fairly untouchable (e.g, Fowler, Kulikov). Some are really only 2d pairing guys, which doesn't improve the situation since the Blues need a top guy.

IMO, on this list, getting any of Jack Johnson, Keith Yandle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Braydon Coburn or Alex Edler would be a major coup. They'd be expensive and unlikely but would plug that hole. Those would be the kind of trades you don't see coming in the sense that putting together proposals for any of them would likely be laughed off by fans on both sides. Right now, it's LA most in panic mode but they still see Johnson as a major part of their core.
I have a bad feeling that on top of Jack Johnson being part of the core that contract is one they can't afford to lose for value on the dollar. I could see them trying to jettison a veteran forward to make room for one of their prospects before they give up a top 4 / pair d-man. They might even flip one of their goalies just to get the deal done without sacrificing from the blueline and avoid another guy who's going to be need a raise or long term deal to stick around.

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12-14-2011, 05:35 PM
  #39
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I have a bad feeling that on top of Jack Johnson being part of the core that contract is one they can't afford to lose for value on the dollar. I could see them trying to jettison a veteran forward to make room for one of their prospects before they give up a top 4 / pair d-man. They might even flip one of their goalies just to get the deal done without sacrificing from the blueline and avoid another guy who's going to be need a raise or long term deal to stick around.
Their fans claim they are quote OVERLOADED unquote with D and didn't want any D coming back in any trade offers. I wouldn't trade Johnson if I were them but panic mode makes you do strange things sometimes.

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12-14-2011, 06:27 PM
  #40
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Their fans claim they are quote OVERLOADED unquote with D and didn't want any D coming back in any trade offers. I wouldn't trade Johnson if I were them but panic mode makes you do strange things sometimes.
It could be similar to our situation last year with EJ. How funny would it be if we traded Johnson to get Stewart who we then trade to get another Johnson.

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12-14-2011, 07:02 PM
  #41
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PS – How does Philly have five LD playing 20+ minutes?
Because for some reason people think you have to play the side you shoot.

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12-14-2011, 07:29 PM
  #42
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Gotta say I'm not too excited about that list...Outside of Suter and a few others, there's not many players that I feel would really strengthen our defensive corps. We have guys that can both defend well and move the puck so I think we're in pretty decent shape on the back end. Personally, I feel we'd be better suited to pursue a scoring forward like Parise or Semin. A finisher is what we need. How about a Stewart/Cola + picks/prospects for Semin trade? It would certainly be a gamble, but I think Semin is a great player that could really use a change of scenery.

Steen-Backes-Oshie
Semin-Berglund-Perron
Amac-Arnott-D'Agostini
Sobotka-Nichol-Lang

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12-14-2011, 07:31 PM
  #43
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Because for some reason people think you have to play the side you shoot.
On average, every team has one player who does not play the side that matches his handedness for the majority of games, and that off-hand player is a lefty playing on the right side because there are twice as many left-handed defensemen as right-handed defensemen.

There are just not many d-men who are as good on their off-side. No one thinks that you have to play your matching side, it's just how the position works. All of Philly's d-men are lefties other than Matt Walker, so they make due, because right-handers are not always available. But if they had more, it's most likely that they'd be playing the right side.

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12-14-2011, 07:35 PM
  #44
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Gotta say I'm not too excited about that list...Outside of Suter and a few others, there's not many players that I feel would really strengthen our defensive corps. We have guys that can both defend well and move the puck so I think we're in pretty decent shape on the back end. Personally, I feel we'd be better suited to pursue a scoring forward like Parise or Semin. A finisher is what we need. How about a Stewart/Cola + picks/prospects for Semin trade? It would certainly be a gamble, but I think Semin is a great player that could really use a change of scenery.

Steen-Backes-Oshie
Semin-Berglund-Perron
Amac-Arnott-D'Agostini
Sobotka-Nichol-Lang
No interest in Semin. He's a selfish player to the detriment of the team, regardless of his talent. I'm not basing that on some anti-Russian xenophobia or stereotype, I've watched him play, and I don't like it. When he's facing good positional defense, rather than dump the puck in for a teammate to retrieve and then follow them up and support them in the corners, where he'll take punishment, he takes a low-percentage shot from the blue line or outright turns it over.

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12-14-2011, 08:56 PM
  #45
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Because for some reason people think you have to play the side you shoot.
just so you know Phaneuf is a lefty but plays the right side and prefers it never seen him play the left

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12-15-2011, 12:20 AM
  #46
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There are more lefties than righties in the league, which explains why some LH play the right.

0 interest in Semin. He would be the worst possible fit for our system and style of play.

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12-15-2011, 08:15 AM
  #47
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Originally Posted by bleedblue1223 View Post
There are more lefties than righties in the league, which explains why some LH play the right.

0 interest in Semin. He would be the worst possible fit for our system and style of play.
- Sheldon Brookbank


I dislike Semin as much as the next guy, but lets not go overboard here.
On the rare occasion that he decides to mentally show up at the rink; Semin is a prolific offensive winger with an absolutely lethal wrister. There are a lot worse players out there.

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12-15-2011, 01:17 PM
  #48
bleedblue1223
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Originally Posted by kimzey59 View Post
- Sheldon Brookbank


I dislike Semin as much as the next guy, but lets not go overboard here.
On the rare occasion that he decides to mentally show up at the rink; Semin is a prolific offensive winger with an absolutely lethal wrister. There are a lot worse players out there.
I'm not denying his talent level, but in a defensive first system, he would be a disaster.

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12-15-2011, 06:08 PM
  #49
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No interest in Semin. He's a selfish player to the detriment of the team, regardless of his talent. I'm not basing that on some anti-Russian xenophobia or stereotype, I've watched him play, and I don't like it. When he's facing good positional defense, rather than dump the puck in for a teammate to retrieve and then follow them up and support them in the corners, where he'll take punishment, he takes a low-percentage shot from the blue line or outright turns it over.
He is definitely a selfish player who likes to shoot the puck...but isn't that what we need? I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but I still think getting out from under the shadow of Ovechkin could do Semin wonders. I've watched a good deal of Capitals games, and every time Ovechkin's been out Semin has stepped up and showed what a great player he is. Most people say he's overrated, but if anything I'd say Semin is quite underrated. Just my opinion.

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12-15-2011, 06:21 PM
  #50
bleedblue1223
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He is definitely a selfish player who likes to shoot the puck...but isn't that what we need? I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but I still think getting out from under the shadow of Ovechkin could do Semin wonders. I've watched a good deal of Capitals games, and every time Ovechkin's been out Semin has stepped up and showed what a great player he is. Most people say he's overrated, but if anything I'd say Semin is quite underrated. Just my opinion.
No one is denying the talent he has, but he has a tendency to take shifts off and not play defense, which would be a disaster in our system and with Hitch. He is the complete opposite of a Hitch player.

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