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cost of Stewart @ the Draft?

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03-02-2012, 03:17 PM
  #51
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Originally Posted by hockeyman1707 View Post
I'm disappointed fans are throwing Stewart under the bus so quickly. There are a few things that I'd like to point out about his situation. First, he's not lazy as some of you have said. As Panger said during the Edmonton game (I believe?), he's the second one on the ice, and the second one off the ice, with Perron. He's clearly working hard, and I've only seen positives thus far. We don't have a 20 goal scorer yet (Backes w/ 19), and as a team, we haven't been scoring a lot of goals at all since Hitchcock took over, we're a defensive minded team. Stewart is 24, and Berglund is 23. Berglund has been with the same group of guys (for the most part) for 4 seasons and has only scored 20 goals twice (has 13 now). Stewart has been with the same group of guys for the equivalent of a season. He has scored 28 goals twice in his young career. People want to keep Berglund despite him having one below-mediocre. Stewart's bad season isn't over yet, but if he can get 20 goals, I'll call it an average season for him. There is no doubt about it, that he's having a down year, I'm not doubting that. Stewart was a -24 with his time in Colorado, and he's a +9 with the Blues so far, so he's on the ice for productivity. Berglund is +9 in his career (-2 this season), so he's doing things right as well. I want to keep both of these guys, they are young and not bringing the team down.
Unfortunately none of this is really persuasive. You're citing statistics. Stewart is 24 and Berglund is 23 and we see more in Berglund's game despite the down year therefore by proximity of age we should conclude the same about Stewart?

Stewart doesn't give that extra effort along the boards but we should overlook this because he's sincere at practice?

A rehash of his numbers therefore what we're saying about him bringing nothing else when the numbers drop means he's valuable when the numbers drop?

There's just nothing persuasive in what you've said. Those of us criticizing him want things to be different. I'm sure we were all stoked to see what this season would bring. But what it's done is reinforce all the very specific criticisms Colorado fans tried to tell us back when we were too busy gloating and not listening to them. The fact is, those criticisms were based on close observation, just like our criticisms of EJ were based on close observation. Stewart is boom/bust. If he's not scoring he's not helping. Right now he's filling a uniform out there. It's completely irrelevant how early he shows up to practice if he's not giving that second and third effort you need in top-level competitive playoff style games like last night. Berglund – I'm still very reserved on him because two weeks of strong play does not a season make. Standards for NHL players can't be plays well for half a season, then the fans just write off the bad half and assume that's gone for good. But at least Berglund's backchecking, competing, etc.

Here's what we need to see out of Stewart. We need to see him go to hard areas with consistency and regularity. We need to see him battle along the boards like his life depends on winning the puck. We need to see him not making monumentally boneheaded blind dump passes to nobody in the middle of the ice at either blue line. When he has to get the puck in deep, get the puck in deep. The 4th Boston goal was a perfect example of that – and the Boston game was his most competitive game of the season. He has speed and size. He needs to pressure the defenses with his speed and he needs to go to the slot with a purpose. Once in the offensive zone he needs to win battles for the puck. Be strong on the puck. Those things have to happen before we can not want to deal him when his value rebounds after his next hot streak.

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03-02-2012, 04:08 PM
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If I had to choose between Berglund and Stewart, it would be Berglund all day long. Not even close. I don't hate Stewart, I just don't think he fits our style. He needs a playmaker to work with. Believe it or not, I would take Sobotka over Stewart.

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03-02-2012, 04:13 PM
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I guess what I don't get about the whole "trade Stewart" crowd is how we plan on replacing his offense. I know the idea that Tarasenko is going to come in and magically be this franchise's new offensive savant, but what if he struggles? It wouldn't be unheard of for a rookie from Europe to struggle in his first season on smaller ice. Sure, Tarasenko has a game that appears as though it would translate well to the smaller ice, but what if it doesn't?

Although Stewart has been having a down year, he has still scored 14 goals, and it wouldn't be completely out of the realm of possibility for him to hit 20 goals. We already have scoring issues as is, so I don't get why we have this idea to trade a scoring winger, after an off year no less, to try to get whatever we'd try to get. The only way that trading Stewart makes sense is to upgrade the offense. Our defense is extremely solid, and while there may be weak links on the left side, the hope is that Cole can remedy those next year, if not this year. So trading for a LHD would be silly, as we'd hurt our weakness to help our strength.

Sure, it would be nice to trade Stewart as part of a package to get someone better at the wing position, or even the center position. But right now he's at a low in value. Everyone has talked about the what-if, as in, what if he finishes the season and postseason strong, and raises his value? Then we can trade him for more/add less. Well yes, that would be true. But what the Blues really need is someone who can score 30 goals a year, is young, and is relatively inexpensive. The Stewart we saw last year and the year before was that guy.

Why, then, would we trade him? I don't get it. I understand everyone is super excited about Tarasenko. Hell, I am, too. But I don't want to count on him to be the savior for the franchise. Yes, we will hopefully be getting full seasons from D'Agostini, Steen, Perron, and McDonald, a luxury we didn't have this year, but someone along the way is going to be hurt. I just don't get why we'd trade from a weakness (goal scoring) for a strength (LHD) like so many are suggesting.

I would understand if we traded Stewart as part of a package for a Bobby Ryan, or someone of that ilk. But let's be honest here. There's probably not a package that makes sense for both the Ducks and for the Blues looking at both the present (the Ducks had a random bad year, I think they will do better next if Selanne returns) and the future. Or the Blues and anyone, really. And even if we do find that perfect deal, I doubt we'll find someone as young as Stewart and as cheap as he should be, as I doubt he'll get much, if any, of a raise. With our ownership issues, that won't work.

Anyways, if someone can tell me a logical reason as to how trading Stewart will improve our weakness (goal scoring), or as to how goal scoring isn't our weakness, I'll listen. But until then, I just see this as a bunch of fans upset about a down season, and trying to make a change when it isn't necessary, or even beneficial.

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03-02-2012, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bluesfan94 View Post
I guess what I don't get about the whole "trade Stewart" crowd is how we plan on replacing his offense. I know the idea that Tarasenko is going to come in and magically be this franchise's new offensive savant, but what if he struggles? It wouldn't be unheard of for a rookie from Europe to struggle in his first season on smaller ice. Sure, Tarasenko has a game that appears as though it would translate well to the smaller ice, but what if it doesn't?

Although Stewart has been having a down year, he has still scored 14 goals, and it wouldn't be completely out of the realm of possibility for him to hit 20 goals. We already have scoring issues as is, so I don't get why we have this idea to trade a scoring winger, after an off year no less, to try to get whatever we'd try to get. The only way that trading Stewart makes sense is to upgrade the offense. Our defense is extremely solid, and while there may be weak links on the left side, the hope is that Cole can remedy those next year, if not this year. So trading for a LHD would be silly, as we'd hurt our weakness to help our strength.

Sure, it would be nice to trade Stewart as part of a package to get someone better at the wing position, or even the center position. But right now he's at a low in value. Everyone has talked about the what-if, as in, what if he finishes the season and postseason strong, and raises his value? Then we can trade him for more/add less. Well yes, that would be true. But what the Blues really need is someone who can score 30 goals a year, is young, and is relatively inexpensive. The Stewart we saw last year and the year before was that guy.

Why, then, would we trade him? I don't get it. I understand everyone is super excited about Tarasenko. Hell, I am, too. But I don't want to count on him to be the savior for the franchise. Yes, we will hopefully be getting full seasons from D'Agostini, Steen, Perron, and McDonald, a luxury we didn't have this year, but someone along the way is going to be hurt. I just don't get why we'd trade from a weakness (goal scoring) for a strength (LHD) like so many are suggesting.

I would understand if we traded Stewart as part of a package for a Bobby Ryan, or someone of that ilk. But let's be honest here. There's probably not a package that makes sense for both the Ducks and for the Blues looking at both the present (the Ducks had a random bad year, I think they will do better next if Selanne returns) and the future. Or the Blues and anyone, really. And even if we do find that perfect deal, I doubt we'll find someone as young as Stewart and as cheap as he should be, as I doubt he'll get much, if any, of a raise. With our ownership issues, that won't work.

Anyways, if someone can tell me a logical reason as to how trading Stewart will improve our weakness (goal scoring), or as to how goal scoring isn't our weakness, I'll listen. But until then, I just see this as a bunch of fans upset about a down season, and trying to make a change when it isn't necessary, or even beneficial.
Nothing like distortive strawman hyperbole, eh? Magic? Savior of the franchise? Ridiculous. Tarasenko should be able to fairly easily replicate Stewart's numbers from this year in his first year. Is that magic? Well, life itself is sort of magical, so perhaps in that sense. Stewart has 14 goals and some of that is ENG and shots that hit his ass and bounce in. Tarasenko will be cheaper on an ELC and allow the team to bolster elsewhere.

The thing is though, I don't really expect Stewart to rebound and reestablish his trade value any time soon. I don't see many positive signs. Neither does Hitchcock, which is why after many, many games of leeway he began to stick him on the 4th line and only reluctantly (with zero results) stick him back on the second line for a game last night.

Thinking we're trading from a weakness (RW) to a strength (LD) is ... I just don't know what else to say about that which hasn't already been extensively said except it's utterly false.

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03-02-2012, 04:39 PM
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Nothing like distortive strawman hyperbole, eh? Magic? Savior of the franchise? Ridiculous. Tarasenko should be able to fairly easily replicate Stewart's numbers from this year in his first year. Is that magic? Well, life itself is sort of magical, so perhaps in that sense. Stewart has 14 goals and some of that is ENG and shots that hit his ass and bounce in. Tarasenko will be cheaper on an ELC and allow the team to bolster elsewhere.

The thing is though, I don't really expect Stewart to rebound and reestablish his trade value any time soon. I don't see many positive signs. Neither does Hitchcock, which is why after many, many games of leeway he began to stick him on the 4th line and only reluctantly (with zero results) stick him back on the second line for a game last night.

Thinking we're trading from a weakness (RW) to a strength (LD) is ... I just don't know what else to say about that which hasn't already been extensively said except it's utterly false.
It was hyperbolic, but not exactly a strawman. People are counting on Tarasenko to come here next year and put up goals. Who knows if he will? What I don't get is why adding Tarasenko means that we have to drop Stewart. Shouldn't we keep both? Wouldn't that help more?

So because Stewart has had one bad year at the age of 24, he won't get better? Yes, he got reduced ice time, but that doesn't mean that he won't improve going into next year. He's 24. When Datsyuk was 24, he scored 12 goals. When Daniel Sedin was 24, it was the lockout. The year before he scored 18 goals, the year after, 22. Shane Doan scored 26 at the age of 24, but hadn't scored near that before. Yet we write Stewart off as not improving. And are you really going to say that his lack of production against Vancouver vindicates Hitchcock's choice to demote Stewart? If so, I'd love to have you explain to me why we should trade the whole forward corps, because they all deserve equal ice time compared to Stewart.

To further this point, let's look at David Backes. I realize he brings more to the team than just his goal scoring abilities, so don't start down that tangent please. At 24, Backes scored 31 goals. Much better than Stewart has done this year. When he was 23 Backes scored 17 goals. Stewart? 28 goals. Backes, as a 25 year old, only scored 19. So the year after scoring 31 goals, Backes regressed to 19, a drop of 12 goals. Once again, I know he brought/brings more to the team than that. Unless you think it's impossible Stewart scores 2 more goals the rest of this year, he would drop by the same amount. The year after, Backes returned to 31 goals. Now, Backes was older, and had less of a high goal scoring pedigree at that point. Yet somehow, we liked him enough to keep him, yet we are vilifying Stewart.

And it's not a positional thing. We have troubles scoring goals. We currently sit 21st in the league in GF/G. That's a weakness. We do not have issues playing defense. We currently are 1st in the league in GA/G. That's not a weakness. Clearly, defense is a strength. Right wings typically score more goals than defensemen. The leading defenseman in goals scored is Karlsson, with 15. That's one more than Stewart. Defensemen typically prevent goals from being scored. Now if you think that scoring goals isn't our weakness then.....I don't even know what to say.


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03-02-2012, 04:52 PM
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I don't know how anybody who watches Stewart on a weekly basis can think he will turn his game around ? He doesn't hit, forcheck, backcheck, score or set up goals on any regular basis. I really don't get the fascination with him. He seems like a likable guy and I have nothing against him personally, he just isn't a very good hockey player.

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03-02-2012, 04:53 PM
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I don't know how anybody who watches Stewart on a weekly basis can think he will turn his game around ? He doesn't hit, forcheck, backcheck, score or set up goals on any regular basis. I really don't get the fascination with him. He seems like a likable guy and I have nothing against him personally, he just isn't a very good hockey player.
Maybe it's looking at the past? One bad year does not mean that he'll continue having bad years. Let's look at the Cardinals. One year, Molina hit .216. The next he did much better. He was 23

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03-02-2012, 05:00 PM
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Maybe it's looking at the past? One bad year does not mean that he'll continue having bad years. Let's look at the Cardinals. One year, Molina hit .216. The next he did much better. He was 23
Can we stop using other players to forecast Stewart. Just because some players rebound, doesn't mean others will. I am also partly guilty of this, comparing Stewart's on ice effort to that of Boyes.

Concerning the Molina comparison, Stewart reminds me a lot more of Rasmus, if we want to go the baseball route.

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03-02-2012, 05:05 PM
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Can we stop using other players to forecast Stewart. Just because some players rebound, doesn't mean others will. I am also partly guilty of this, comparing Stewart's on ice effort to that of Boyes.

Concerning the Molina comparison, Stewart reminds me a lot more of Rasmus, if we want to go the baseball route.
Except Rasmus only had one good year. Why choose Rasmus and not Molina?

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03-02-2012, 05:21 PM
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It was hyperbolic, but not exactly a strawman. People are counting on Tarasenko to come here next year and put up goals. Who knows if he will? What I don't get is why adding Tarasenko means that we have to drop Stewart. Shouldn't we keep both? Wouldn't that help more?

So because Stewart has had one bad year at the age of 24, he won't get better? Yes, he got reduced ice time, but that doesn't mean that he won't improve going into next year. He's 24. When Datsyuk was 24, he scored 12 goals. When Daniel Sedin was 24, it was the lockout. The year before he scored 18 goals, the year after, 22. Shane Doan scored 26 at the age of 24, but hadn't scored near that before. Yet we write Stewart off as not improving. And are you really going to say that his lack of production against Vancouver vindicates Hitchcock's choice to demote Stewart? If so, I'd love to have you explain to me why we should trade the whole forward corps, because they all deserve equal ice time compared to Stewart.

And it's not a positional thing. We have troubles scoring goals. We currently sit 21st in the league in GF/G. That's a weakness. We do not have issues playing defense. We currently are 1st in the league in GA/G. That's not a weakness. Clearly, defense is a strength. Right wings typically score more goals than defensemen. The leading defenseman in goals scored is Karlsson, with 15. That's one more than Stewart. Defensemen typically prevent goals from being scored. Now if you think that scoring goals isn't our weakness then.....I don't even know what to say.
This is terrible logic. Stewart will be as good as some of the most elite players in the game because hey look at their numbers when they were young? You are literally cherry picking optimal examples of elite players and then protesting based on that?

Your analysis is a shallow numbers analysis. Nobody scored therefore all forwards played equally in Vancouver. Shallow.

Here is what you aren't understanding, in my opinion. The Blues have graduated to the point of talent and depth that they will now make the postseason with regularity. Some years they will go in with more regular season points than other years, but they will be good enough to get into the tournament for some time now.

Thus, what now matters is how do you build a team that can win that tournament. Well, you have to be able to beat the top contending teams. That's where we're focused when we talk about needing D. Not in raising the regular season goals per game from 2.5 to 2.7 or whatever, because that couldn't be less relevant if they're making the tournament under either circumstance.

The way hockey is played at the elite Cup winning level is that if you can get a sustained forecheck in the other zone you create scoring chances, tire the other team's D by getting them hemmed in and scrambling, and you pounce on little free space on the ice to get a quality shot to beat the goaltender. That's it. Seriously, read and reread and reread and reread that sentence until it sinks in. Everyone's fast, everyone has good gap control, everyone plays with energy, checks and has good goaltending – among the teams you need to beat to win the Cup.

So where the Blues are going to be severely tested is their ability to not get hemmed in. Hard board work, crisp, relentlessly smart passing decisions, get the puck back out and up the ice. Keep the shot to the outside, block it or get the rebound immediately and go back the other way. The other extremely high quality team is going to be right on you. As Hitchcock explains extensively to this Vancouver Sun columnist in today's paper what the Blues' style of play is, they are on your ass immediately and you can't succumb to the pressure.

So look at the Blues. What do they have on D? Yeah, Cola's serviceable to help get you to the tournament when the vast majority of the regular season games aren't against the elite teams or played at the pace needed, but he's a flat out liability in those kind of who's-truly-the-best games. They got Russell because he can skate the puck out of danger. They wanted an elusive skater/decisionmaker on each defensive pairing (Petro/Shattenkirk/Russell) and a simple, physical rock (Polak/Jackman) specifically with that long term ambition in mind of how you have to work together to get the puck out immediately and back the other way.

The forwards work for the defensemen and the whole team works for the goalie is how Hitchcock puts it, and that's an accurate description of the Blues' style. Your analysis is Stewart's only 24, he culd be better at 26. IRRELEVANT. What's relevant is can he succeed in the stlye of play you need to play to beat the top teams? Can he work tirelessly to support defensemen in the defensive zone so they can get the puck and crisply begin moving it back the other way? He's dodgy. Can he fight to get to the hard areas and be a force in hemming the other team in the zone? He's been very poor in that department this year and doesn't have a history of doing it either. He's been more effective in his career off the rush playing with a playmaker (Stastny), but that's not how these going-for-the-Cup tournament games are played. The other team's defense smiles when they see Chris Stewart coming to battle for the puck. He makes a first effort and no second or third effort. Who cares how nice his backhand can be if during the playoffs against the top team he won't fight to get to those areas to be an opportunist and score?

But you know who has the traits of fighting for ice to get off a shot in tight areas in the offensive zone during times of pressure? Vladimir Tarasenko. I've watched him do it. You know who has Pietrangelo-esque hockey sense? Jaden Schwartz. That extra level of vision matters when you're trying to separate from the top teams.

This is why the Blues structurally have strength on the wings. RD at the NHL level is also rock solid (with Hakanpaa as a nice prospect in the stable). But they have a huge need at LD for someone who can make those split second smart decisions under pressure against the best and most ferocious forechecking teams in the world – the teams the Blues will have to beat to win the Cup.

Yes, all of our discussions going forward are now about what steps do the Blues need to take to build a Cup winner. And that discussion isn't about how do we dress up the aggregate regular season numbers a little nicer, that discussion is about how do we line up against Detroit, Vancouver, Boston, Pittsburgh, Nashville, NY Rangers and overcome them.

Whether Chris Stewart has had past success aggregating regular season numbers in a different system in more potent streaky bunches is just not relevant. What they need to do is hope he increases his value and convert that value to something that helps them beat the top teams in the tournament at the end of every year.

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03-02-2012, 05:39 PM
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There's a lot going on in PN's post, and I agree with pretty much all of it.

I've seen noticeable evidence of Stewart playing better in the defensive zone (structurally, at least). I think he's on the same page with what the coach wants there, and is making a significant effort to improve that part of his game.

His decision making in transition is a huge concern for me (and to a lesser extent his decision making in the offensive zone). That's a product of hockey IQ, and there's only so much coaching can do to address that. If he's not lugging the puck himself from blueline to blueline (which he's more than capable of doing), he's a liability in that facet of the game and probably always will be.

His physicality/board battling is a bit less conclusive, IMO. Winning those battles is largely a product of desire and confidence. Berglund has shown significant growth and improvement in those areas, and it's not unusual for it to take awhile for that part of a player's game to fully develop. It's possible that part of Stewart's game can improve...significantly, even...but I agree his current demeanor/play on the ice isn't suggestive of an impending breakthrough. I want to see whether the playoffs have any effect on his game before really forming my opinion on whether it is a part of his game that might improve in the future.

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03-02-2012, 05:45 PM
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Stewart isn't hurting us, he just isn't helping us.

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03-02-2012, 06:01 PM
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Except Rasmus only had one good year. Why choose Rasmus and not Molina?
Rasmus and Stewart were both highly touted prospects with a lot of talent. Molina was never really expected to excel offensively, he was suppose to excel defensively, opposite of Stewart. Not that it actually matters, but if you want to compare athletes in different sports, Molina and Stewart are far from comparables.

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03-02-2012, 06:30 PM
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This is terrible logic. Stewart will be as good as some of the most elite players in the game because hey look at their numbers when they were young? You are literally cherry picking optimal examples of elite players and then protesting based on that?
So where's your logic? Good players never have bad years? Look at the Backes comparison I posted. Look at Patrick Marleau. Sometimes people just have off years. I don't get why the though is that that Stewart cannot improve on this year.

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Your analysis is a shallow numbers analysis. Nobody scored therefore all forwards played equally in Vancouver. Shallow.
So what, then, did you mean when you said little results?
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Here is what you aren't understanding, in my opinion. The Blues have graduated to the point of talent and depth that they will now make the postseason with regularity. Some years they will go in with more regular season points than other years, but they will be good enough to get into the tournament for some time now.

Thus, what now matters is how do you build a team that can win that tournament. Well, you have to be able to beat the top contending teams. That's where we're focused when we talk about needing D. Not in raising the regular season goals per game from 2.5 to 2.7 or whatever, because that couldn't be less relevant if they're making the tournament under either circumstance.
Alright, so I don't see how you can predict how we'll do in the playoffs and already say Stewart will be meaningless there before we've gotten there. By the way, Stewart has played in 6 playoff games and scored three goals. Not too shabby.

I'm also under the impression that preventing the other team from scoring goals and scoring goals yourself is how you win hockey games. We've always had troubles scoring goals. Look at Nashville last year. They were very similar to us. Hard-checking, solid defensively, superb in net, but had trouble scoring. They didn't make it too far, and what did they add this year? Scoring, not defense.

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The way hockey is played at the elite Cup winning level is that if you can get a sustained forecheck in the other zone you create scoring chances, tire the other team's D by getting them hemmed in and scrambling, and you pounce on little free space on the ice to get a quality shot to beat the goaltender. That's it. Seriously, read and reread and reread and reread that sentence until it sinks in. Everyone's fast, everyone has good gap control, everyone plays with energy, checks and has good goaltending – among the teams you need to beat to win the Cup.
Yes I understand that. The Blues haven't had that much difficulty beating teams. If that's literally the only way to score goals in the playoffs, then I'd agree we need to bolster defense. But you took a complicated game and said that only two things matter; forechecking and the ability to avoid the forecheck. Either way, Stewart is one of the forwards on our team that has the ability to, if he's in the little space of ice, score consistently. That's what he did last year.
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Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
So where the Blues are going to be severely tested is their ability to not get hemmed in. Hard board work, crisp, relentlessly smart passing decisions, get the puck back out and up the ice. Keep the shot to the outside, block it or get the rebound immediately and go back the other way. The other extremely high quality team is going to be right on you. As Hitchcock explains extensively to this Vancouver Sun columnist in today's paper what the Blues' style of play is, they are on your ass immediately and you can't succumb to the pressure.

So look at the Blues. What do they have on D? Yeah, Cola's serviceable to help get you to the tournament when the vast majority of the regular season games aren't against the elite teams or played at the pace needed, but he's a flat out liability in those kind of who's-truly-the-best games. They got Russell because he can skate the puck out of danger. They wanted an elusive skater/decisionmaker on each defensive pairing (Petro/Shattenkirk/Russell) and a simple, physical rock (Polak/Jackman) specifically with that long term ambition in mind of how you have to work together to get the puck out immediately and back the other way.
You just made the case that we don't, in fact, need some godsend of a LHD to fit Hitchcock's system. Cole seems to be the simple physical rock, or else is capable of developing into that. That works perfectly then, and we don't need to sacrifice the little offense we have.
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The forwards work for the defensemen and the whole team works for the goalie is how Hitchcock puts it, and that's an accurate description of the Blues' style. Your analysis is Stewart's only 24, he culd be better at 26. IRRELEVANT. What's relevant is can he succeed in the stlye of play you need to play to beat the top teams? Can he work tirelessly to support defensemen in the defensive zone so they can get the puck and crisply begin moving it back the other way? He's dodgy. Can he fight to get to the hard areas and be a force in hemming the other team in the zone? He's been very poor in that department this year and doesn't have a history of doing it either. He's been more effective in his career off the rush playing with a playmaker (Stastny), but that's not how these going-for-the-Cup tournament games are played. The other team's defense smiles when they see Chris Stewart coming to battle for the puck. He makes a first effort and no second or third effort. Who cares how nice his backhand can be if during the playoffs against the top team he won't fight to get to those areas to be an opportunist and score?
Your argument is that he's 24, and that he can't learn. That's nonsense. I don't get how you think Stewart can't learn to adapt his game to better fit Hitchcock's system. Think of Brett Hull. That's exactly what he did in Dallas, and he was older. Obviously Stewart doesn't equal Hull, but you get my gist, I hope.
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But you know who has the traits of fighting for ice to get off a shot in tight areas in the offensive zone during times of pressure? Vladimir Tarasenko. I've watched him do it. You know who has Pietrangelo-esque hockey sense? Jaden Schwartz. That extra level of vision matters when you're trying to separate from the top teams.
They have these traits at lesser levels. Either way, Schwartz likely won't be with the Blues unless injuries occur. It's not even guaranteed he's going pro. Wouldn't you rather have the depth of Oshie-Tarasenko-Stewart-D'Agostini instead of Oshie-Tarasenko-D'Agostini-Crombeen? Maybe you wouldn't, but I can't see the logic behind that.

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This is why the Blues structurally have strength on the wings. RD at the NHL level is also rock solid (with Hakanpaa as a nice prospect in the stable). But they have a huge need at LD for someone who can make those split second smart decisions under pressure against the best and most ferocious forechecking teams in the world – the teams the Blues will have to beat to win the Cup.
We also have structural depth at LHD. Ponich, Cole, Fairchild, hell all of our top-end defensive prospects not named Hakanpaa. According to you, Hitch's system calls for one PMD and one rock. On the right handed side, Petro and Shatty are the PMD, and on the left Russell. Where, then, would this 4th PMD fit in?
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Yes, all of our discussions going forward are now about what steps do the Blues need to take to build a Cup winner. And that discussion isn't about how do we dress up the aggregate regular season numbers a little nicer, that discussion is about how do we line up against Detroit, Vancouver, Boston, Pittsburgh, Nashville, NY Rangers and overcome them.
I agree. And looking at last night's game, the difficulty isn't defense, it's a lack of offense. Hell, looking at all the games we've played against these teams. We've rarely given up a number of goals that would keep us from competing. Rather, we don't score enough.

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Whether Chris Stewart has had past success aggregating regular season numbers in a different system in more potent streaky bunches is just not relevant. What they need to do is hope he increases his value and convert that value to something that helps them beat the top teams in the tournament at the end of every year.
And what would that something be? We need to score. If forechecking was that important, a team of Chris Porters would win the cup. That's not what's happening. You need to score goals to win games. Stewart in the NHL, outside of this year, scores goals. That's what we need.

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03-02-2012, 07:47 PM
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So where's your logic? Good players never have bad years? Look at the Backes comparison I posted. Look at Patrick Marleau. Sometimes people just have off years. I don't get why the though is that that Stewart cannot improve on this year.



So what, then, did you mean when you said little results?


Alright, so I don't see how you can predict how we'll do in the playoffs and already say Stewart will be meaningless there before we've gotten there. By the way, Stewart has played in 6 playoff games and scored three goals. Not too shabby.

I'm also under the impression that preventing the other team from scoring goals and scoring goals yourself is how you win hockey games. We've always had troubles scoring goals. Look at Nashville last year. They were very similar to us. Hard-checking, solid defensively, superb in net, but had trouble scoring. They didn't make it too far, and what did they add this year? Scoring, not defense.



Yes I understand that. The Blues haven't had that much difficulty beating teams. If that's literally the only way to score goals in the playoffs, then I'd agree we need to bolster defense. But you took a complicated game and said that only two things matter; forechecking and the ability to avoid the forecheck. Either way, Stewart is one of the forwards on our team that has the ability to, if he's in the little space of ice, score consistently. That's what he did last year.


You just made the case that we don't, in fact, need some godsend of a LHD to fit Hitchcock's system. Cole seems to be the simple physical rock, or else is capable of developing into that. That works perfectly then, and we don't need to sacrifice the little offense we have.


Your argument is that he's 24, and that he can't learn. That's nonsense. I don't get how you think Stewart can't learn to adapt his game to better fit Hitchcock's system. Think of Brett Hull. That's exactly what he did in Dallas, and he was older. Obviously Stewart doesn't equal Hull, but you get my gist, I hope.

They have these traits at lesser levels. Either way, Schwartz likely won't be with the Blues unless injuries occur. It's not even guaranteed he's going pro. Wouldn't you rather have the depth of Oshie-Tarasenko-Stewart-D'Agostini instead of Oshie-Tarasenko-D'Agostini-Crombeen? Maybe you wouldn't, but I can't see the logic behind that.



We also have structural depth at LHD. Ponich, Cole, Fairchild, hell all of our top-end defensive prospects not named Hakanpaa. According to you, Hitch's system calls for one PMD and one rock. On the right handed side, Petro and Shatty are the PMD, and on the left Russell. Where, then, would this 4th PMD fit in?

I agree. And looking at last night's game, the difficulty isn't defense, it's a lack of offense. Hell, looking at all the games we've played against these teams. We've rarely given up a number of goals that would keep us from competing. Rather, we don't score enough.



And what would that something be? We need to score. If forechecking was that important, a team of Chris Porters would win the cup. That's not what's happening. You need to score goals to win games. Stewart in the NHL, outside of this year, scores goals. That's what we need.
I'm confident my comments stand up. You're still arguing along the lines of "you need goals to win" --> "Stewart is a goal scorer" --> "[insert list of elite/hall of fame scorers who had down years once]" --> "therefore Stewart is too valuable to trade."

It's telling that you're not breaking down his game itself, talking his historic strengths and weaknesses, what he's showing us this season, and then arguing why those elements are the elements that will put the Blues over the top. One of us is doing that and the other is saying look at Brett Hull (who had a knack for finding open space, had the deadliest release of all time, and who resembles Chris Stewart's game in literally no way except they have worn hockey uniforms) and Hull learned a two-way game therefore it's foolish to not need Chris Stewart.

What you're doing in your argument is saying he's young ergo he can learn because players who learned were once young themselves. That's the essence of your argument. The illogic of it aside, it's so general it can't be disproved. But it's so general as to be meaningless.

As for LD what we have are some prospects who are far from the kind of blue-chip potential guys like Tarasenko and Schwartz are, even Rattie. Are we really equating Ponich to Tarasenko to make an argument that LD is stronger than RW? Not only are their ceilings far higher, they're imminently ready to contribute. What matters is the ceiling. You're looking at a bunch of guys who project to the second and third pairings and saying we have a LOT of them therefore we don't need a true top pairing 22-24 min guy. I really need to point out the logical flaw in that? If you can bolster LD or C with a Stewart trade it helps the club without losing a piece that's really helping you get over the top. And you're already going to make the postseason with or without him.

As for why I stressed forechecking and the ability to avoid the forecheck it's because that's where the best teams separate from each other. Saying that I only think a complicated game means these two things is you missing the point. The point is we're talking about separation among the elite. As you will note I pointed out I said everybody can do a list of other things at the highest level of competition. In the regular season you can exploit rank and file teams who don't do some of those other things well. But between the Blues and Nashville or Detroit or Vancouver you better believe it's about forechecking and handling the forecheck. Whoever wins at that wins a series (unless there's some gross letdown or crazy perofrmance of goaltending).

Don't know where else to take the Stewart discussion. If he can show he can contribute these things and be a difference maker, make those second and third efforts in the offensive zone, be consistent at making quick smart support decisions for his defensemen in the defensive zone, then he will contribute to the Blues getting to the Cup. If he can't do those things he's not part of the solution, and they should trade him for a return that is part of the solution.

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03-02-2012, 08:19 PM
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So where's your logic? Good players never have bad years? Look at the Backes comparison I posted. Look at Patrick Marleau. Sometimes people just have off years. I don't get why the though is that that Stewart cannot improve on this year.
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To further this point, let's look at David Backes. I realize he brings more to the team than just his goal scoring abilities, so don't start down that tangent please. At 24, Backes scored 31 goals. Much better than Stewart has done this year. When he was 23 Backes scored 17 goals. Stewart? 28 goals. Backes, as a 25 year old, only scored 19. So the year after scoring 31 goals, Backes regressed to 19, a drop of 12 goals. Once again, I know he brought/brings more to the team than that. Unless you think it's impossible Stewart scores 2 more goals the rest of this year, he would drop by the same amount. The year after, Backes returned to 31 goals. Now, Backes was older, and had less of a high goal scoring pedigree at that point. Yet somehow, we liked him enough to keep him, yet we are vilifying Stewart.
The player comparisons are really not helping your argument, some are pretty ridiculous.

You simply can't start by saying "I realize he brings more to the team than just his goal scoring abilities, so don't start down that tangent please" and then finish with the comment "Yet somehow, we liked him enough to keep him, yet we are vilifying Stewart.". Had Backes brought nothing else to the table but goalscoring, then the reaction to the drop in numbers would have been similar to Stewart. This isn't a personal thing.

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Your argument is that he's 24, and that he can't learn. That's nonsense. I don't get how you think Stewart can't learn to adapt his game to better fit Hitchcock's system. Think of Brett Hull. That's exactly what he did in Dallas, and he was older. Obviously Stewart doesn't equal Hull, but you get my gist, I hope.
Stewart hasn't been playing badly for the most part of this season, he simply hasn't been playing. He has been non-existant when he is on the ice. The frustration levels with him are completely legitimate because of how little he has offered.

That has changed over the last half a dozen or so games, but what the hell took him so long? But, if he continues this play until the end of the season, I don't think anyone will mind if he is still on the team next season.

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They have these traits at lesser levels. Either way, Schwartz likely won't be with the Blues unless injuries occur. It's not even guaranteed he's going pro. Wouldn't you rather have the depth of Oshie-Tarasenko-Stewart-D'Agostini instead of Oshie-Tarasenko-D'Agostini-Crombeen? Maybe you wouldn't, but I can't see the logic behind that.
Not Crombeen, Reaves who has earned his one-way contract and spot on the fourth line.

Arguing that because Stewart can score we should keep him around doesn't fly if he isn't consistently buying into the team ethic. As I said, if he keeps playing like he has been recently, some might doubt his longterm future with the Blues, but nobody will complain about him being back next year.

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We also have structural depth at LHD. Ponich, Cole, Fairchild, hell all of our top-end defensive prospects not named Hakanpaa. According to you, Hitch's system calls for one PMD and one rock. On the right handed side, Petro and Shatty are the PMD, and on the left Russell. Where, then, would this 4th PMD fit in?
We need better quality that Russell on the left. Cole and Jackman are perfect for the shutdown roles, but when we play a game that is team orientated defense, we need real quality from defense going forward as well. Russell was an adequate short term solution, and if we make do with him in a regular role for another season, fair enough. But long term he is certainly not the answer. The chances that any of our prospects can step into that role in the near future is not realistic.

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And what would that something be? We need to score. If forechecking was that important, a team of Chris Porters would win the cup. That's not what's happening. You need to score goals to win games. Stewart in the NHL, outside of this year, scores goals. That's what we need.
I don't think there is a Blues fan out there that doesn't accept we need more goals. The issue with Chris Stewart is whether or not he is the guy to provide them.

PocketNines is the most vocal with his criticisms of Stewart, but I think even he will say that Stewart certainly has 40 goal potential when paired with a top playmaking center. But, if he needs that to be touching the 30 goal range regularly, then he simply isn't going to be a success here.

The tear he went on at the end of last season obviously suggests he's capable of being the 30+ goal guy here, but there is only so long he can live off that.

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03-02-2012, 08:21 PM
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Unfortunately none of this is really persuasive. You're citing statistics. Stewart is 24 and Berglund is 23 and we see more in Berglund's game despite the down year therefore by proximity of age we should conclude the same about Stewart?

Stewart doesn't give that extra effort along the boards but we should overlook this because he's sincere at practice?

A rehash of his numbers therefore what we're saying about him bringing nothing else when the numbers drop means he's valuable when the numbers drop?

There's just nothing persuasive in what you've said. Those of us criticizing him want things to be different. I'm sure we were all stoked to see what this season would bring. But what it's done is reinforce all the very specific criticisms Colorado fans tried to tell us back when we were too busy gloating and not listening to them. The fact is, those criticisms were based on close observation, just like our criticisms of EJ were based on close observation. Stewart is boom/bust. If he's not scoring he's not helping. Right now he's filling a uniform out there. It's completely irrelevant how early he shows up to practice if he's not giving that second and third effort you need in top-level competitive playoff style games like last night. Berglund – I'm still very reserved on him because two weeks of strong play does not a season make. Standards for NHL players can't be plays well for half a season, then the fans just write off the bad half and assume that's gone for good. But at least Berglund's backchecking, competing, etc.

Here's what we need to see out of Stewart. We need to see him go to hard areas with consistency and regularity. We need to see him battle along the boards like his life depends on winning the puck. We need to see him not making monumentally boneheaded blind dump passes to nobody in the middle of the ice at either blue line. When he has to get the puck in deep, get the puck in deep. The 4th Boston goal was a perfect example of that – and the Boston game was his most competitive game of the season. He has speed and size. He needs to pressure the defenses with his speed and he needs to go to the slot with a purpose. Once in the offensive zone he needs to win battles for the puck. Be strong on the puck. Those things have to happen before we can not want to deal him when his value rebounds after his next hot streak.
Do you really think I care if I persuaded anyone? I was stating what I think about the issue. In our extremely competitive division, members on this site keep comparing us to Nashville, and how close our games are. For Nashville, their top 3 players in points have 14 goals (and we're only talking about goal scorers, since Stewart is a goal scorer to everyone here). Am I saying Stewart should be on the top line like some members? No, because I agree that you have to earn that role. He's fine on the second line. Don't be a smart-a$$ when saying we should overlook his mistakes because of his practice ethics, you know what I mean. For God's sake, he's 4th on our team with 14 goals and our leader has 19, the average goals for the whole league is 7. He's a steady goal scorer on our team.

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03-02-2012, 08:31 PM
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There is so much more to hockey than just scoring goals. Stewart will need to bring much more to the ice, than his "goal scoring ability" if he wants to be apart of our long-term plans. It really is as simple as that. We have a specific system, which requires everyone on the ice to play the 200 foot game. If Stewart starts to play that game on a consistent basis, then he will stay, if not, I have no doubt that Armstrong and Hitchcock will want to move him.

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03-02-2012, 09:18 PM
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There is so much more to hockey than just scoring goals. Stewart will need to bring much more to the ice, than his "goal scoring ability" if he wants to be apart of our long-term plans. It really is as simple as that. We have a specific system, which requires everyone on the ice to play the 200 foot game. If Stewart starts to play that game on a consistent basis, then he will stay, if not, I have no doubt that Armstrong and Hitchcock will want to move him.
I agree. I believe that's what he's really working hard on during practice, is his all-around game. It's probably a weird transition from Colorado/Payne's system to the 200-foot game. As much as I'd hate to say it, I agree that Armstrong will have no problem trading him if he doesn't keep improving on all aspects.

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03-02-2012, 09:27 PM
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Do you really think I care if I persuaded anyone? I was stating what I think about the issue. In our extremely competitive division, members on this site keep comparing us to Nashville, and how close our games are. For Nashville, their top 3 players in points have 14 goals (and we're only talking about goal scorers, since Stewart is a goal scorer to everyone here). Am I saying Stewart should be on the top line like some members? No, because I agree that you have to earn that role. He's fine on the second line. Don't be a smart-a$$ when saying we should overlook his mistakes because of his practice ethics, you know what I mean. For God's sake, he's 4th on our team with 14 goals and our leader has 19, the average goals for the whole league is 7. He's a steady goal scorer on our team.
Do you really think the debate is between whether he should be on the first or second lines? Yeesh.

You said it yourself, "I've only seen positives thus far." When a person sees Stewart like that, there isn't much else to say. I only just now noticed you'd responded in this thread, by the way. Was on the polls board reading an excellent breakdown compare/contrast between Shattenkirk/EJ by PavelDatsyuk and noticed hockeyman1707 started a thread asking other fans to explain why they would like Chris Stewart on their team. When I dared suggest it was related to this thread he didn't like that and accused me of "stalking."

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03-02-2012, 09:29 PM
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I agree. I believe that's what he's really working hard on during practice, is his all-around game. It's probably a weird transition from Colorado/Payne's system to the 200-foot game. As much as I'd hate to say it, I agree that Armstrong will have no problem trading him if he doesn't keep improving on all aspects.
It shouldn't take any NHL player that long to adjust to a new system that didn't have any major changes to it. Hitch's system basically just has more discipline and defensive responsibilities. Hitch and the players even said that they had more freedom offensively than before.

The way I see it is, that his increased play over the past few games where he is actually involved in the play has given him a chance to prove that he can be apart of the future for next season. For the time being, he is out of Hitch's doghouse.

IMO, he will be on the roster next season, but it will be the equivalent of probationary status in college.


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03-02-2012, 09:36 PM
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Do you really think the debate is between whether he should be on the first or second lines? Yeesh.

You said it yourself, "I've only seen positives thus far." When a person sees Stewart like that, there isn't much else to say. I only just now noticed you'd responded in this thread, by the way. Was on the polls board reading an excellent breakdown compare/contrast between Shattenkirk/EJ by PavelDatsyuk and noticed hockeyman1707 started a thread asking other fans to explain why they would like Chris Stewart on their team. When I dared suggest it was related to this thread he didn't like that and accused me of "stalking."
Actually, if you read what I said more carefully, I never suggested Stewart on the first line. So I don't know where you got that first or second line debate idea from. When I said that I've only seen positives thus far, it was from the point when the team made his work ethic such a spectacle. Ever since he was demoted to the fourth line, he quickly got the message and is actually skating towards the puck and improving on puck battles. Like I said before, I'm done.

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03-02-2012, 09:39 PM
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It shouldn't take any NHL player that long to adjust to a new system that didn't have any major changes to it. Hitch's system basically just has more discipline and defensive responsibilities. Hitch and the players even said that they had more freedom offensively than before.

The way I see it is, that his increased play over the past few games where he is actually involved in the play has given him a chance to prove that he can be apart of the future for next season. For the time being, he is out of Hitch's doghouse.

IMO, he will be on the roster next season, but it will be the equivalent of probationary status in college.
That's the thing that really worried me, was the aspect of "Is it really taking him this long to get used to the system?" But, as you said, his recent play is showing he can play this system, and I hope he can make an impact for the rest of this season and onto the next.

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03-02-2012, 09:43 PM
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That's the thing that really worried me, was the aspect of "Is it really taking him this long to get used to the system?" But, as you said, his recent play is showing he can play this system, and I hope he can make an impact for the rest of this season and onto the next.
I wouldn't go that far. His current play has put him where Berglund was before he started putting up points recently. Stewart is putting effort out on the ice, and playing better, but he isn't where he should be yet.

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03-02-2012, 10:08 PM
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Actually, if you read what I said more carefully, I never suggested Stewart on the first line. So I don't know where you got that first or second line debate idea from. When I said that I've only seen positives thus far, it was from the point when the team made his work ethic such a spectacle. Ever since he was demoted to the fourth line, he quickly got the message and is actually skating towards the puck and improving on puck battles. Like I said before, I'm done.
You mean, I should read "Am I saying Stewart should be on the top line like some members? No, because I agree that you have to earn that role. He's fine on the second line." more carefully?

Why would I ever gather from that that you believe the state of the debate to be "should he be on the first line?" versus "should he be on the second line?"

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