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Cole's Plus/Minus: The Sid, Fleury, & Geno Show (Pens vs. Lightning)

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Old
03-05-2013, 01:34 AM
  #176
Mr Jiggyfly
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Originally Posted by CaptainZappBrannigan View Post
Neal isn't a power forward. He hasn't been a power forward type of player for years. He is a sniper. He finds the soft areas of the ice and uses his shot and release to score goals in bunches.

Maybe when he joined the league he was a bit more of a power forward type of guy, but he hasn't played like that in a long while.

Expecting him to play like a Perry, Backes, or a Lucic is pretty unfair.
So basically... We shouldn't expect him to play hard all game like say... Crosby and Malkin?

We shouldn't expect him to play like the guy we saw last game without Malkin or in the first period tonight, because obviously he can't play like that AND still score goals... Even though he is capable of it... But it's not fair to expect that because he scores goals.

So I guess I should lower my expectations for Crosby and Malkin because they score goals?

So basically certain posters feel its ok not to try hard if you score goals, because its not fair to expect guys to skate hard all game if they score goals. Unless their name is Malkin or Crosby.

Or Perry.
Or Horton.
Or Lucic.
Or Iggy.
Or Backes.
Or Kane.

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03-05-2013, 01:47 AM
  #177
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Originally Posted by Mr Jiggyfly View Post
So basically... We shouldn't expect him to play hard all game like say... Crosby and Malkin?
One, they have different responsibilities on the ice than Neal does. You're obviously going to see them in areas you won't find Neal, given their positions. Would I like to see Neal be better in other areas of the ice? Certainly. But his game has been pretty much the same since we acquired him, and I don't think or even expect it to change. Find an open area, bury the puck. That's what he does, and he does it pretty well.

I think the difference between ragging on a guy like Kennedy or Orpik vs. ragging on Neal, is that we want the first two guys to play like we know they can. IMO, Neal is doing what he's always done, which is provide offense. He's never been a two-way player, and he never will be. A lot of snipers are that way...one-dimensional. You won't see them getting their nose too dirty throughout the course of a game. That's not to say that he and the team wouldn't benefit from it, but it's really not a part of his game. I don't expect Vitale to start dangling out there - that's just not who he is.

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03-05-2013, 01:47 AM
  #178
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What makes you so sure he was whining about the play not being called dead? My guess was he was lobbying for a call…you’re making it seem like he was asking the official to rescind the whole play and result because he was infracted upon. Outside of this one nitpick, I don’t think there’s anyone here that thinks Orpik is playing at a remotely acceptable caliber.
Because it's the only thing that makes sense. There was no illegal check to whine about. He was checked hard, but legally, and laid there on the ice, not injured, expecting a whistle. When it became clear there wouldn't be a whistle he got up and started whining. Malkin scored a goal in the meantime. If he was trying to buy a phantom call, it wouldn't have mattered at that point. The goal would have nullified it.

Only logical thing for him to be upset about is that there was no whistle while he was lying there. Which is ridiculous, because he wasn't too injured to get off the ice (he didn't have any problem making it to Walkom to complain, after all) and Walkom NOT blowing the whistle, correctly, allowed Malkin to tie the game. Selfish, selfish, selfish.

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03-05-2013, 01:49 AM
  #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Jiggyfly View Post
So basically... We shouldn't expect him to play hard all game like say... Crosby and Malkin?

We shouldn't expect him to play like the guy we saw last game without Malkin or in the first period tonight, because obviously he can't play like that AND still score goals... Even though he is capable of it... But it's not fair to expect that because he scores goals.

So I guess I should lower my expectations for Crosby and Malkin because they score goals?

So basically certain posters feel its ok not to try hard if you score goals, because its not fair to expect guys to skate hard all game if they score goals. Unless their name is Malkin or Crosby.

Or Perry.
Or Horton.
Or Lucic.
Or Iggy.
Or Backes.
Or Kane.
Crosby and Malkin (especially) have their nights off. The difference is that they are pivots, and make others around them better. Neal is a complementary player. If Sid or Geno take a night off, it's usually pretty catastrophic. If Neal isn't on his A+ game, it's not the end of the world. That sucks, but it's the way it is.

And again, he's not a power forward. Comparing Neal to those players is like comparing apples to oranges.

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03-05-2013, 01:58 AM
  #180
Mr Jiggyfly
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Originally Posted by Rocket of Russia View Post
Outside of Perry, none of those guys fill the net like Neal.
None of those guys play with Malkin.

They have all put up better numbers than Neal did in Dallas. I'm pretty sure all of them would pot at least 35+ with Malkin and compete harder than Neal is right now.

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I watch Backes nightly. He is ghost on as many nights as Neal. To be honest he looks slower and almost disinterested this year. He's also a net presence on the PP, something the Pens PP is not designed to do with Neal. Lucic wasn't too active last night against Montreal and without his massive frame, can you really determine he's "working harder" than Neal. Horton, who goes to the same areas Neal does, and doesn't move his feet like Dupuis...let's not cut corners here - he's not the same hard-nosed power forward he was shaping out to be. And Kane has flashes of inconsistencies/laziness. Did you see him in the KHL? I'll give you Hartnell, but he also doesn't finish at the same elite level as Neal.
Backes has been fighting a bad groin for a majority of the season and still leads the team in hits. Not bad for a ghost.

Horton, Lucic, and Kane don't have to move their feet as fast as Dupuis to be effective. None of those guys has to rely on Malkin to put up 30+ goals. They all earn their goals with hard work.

Neal doesn't even have to play like them, he has to play like the guy we saw when he first arrived, like the guy we saw Sat and in the first period tonight.

The Neal we saw for four periods competing for pucks and skating hard every shift is the guy this team needs if they want to win the division and advance deep in the playoffs.

If you or anyone else thinks the guy we have seen most of the season will be effective in the playoffs, it's not happening.

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03-05-2013, 02:16 AM
  #181
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Originally Posted by CaptainZappBrannigan View Post
Crosby and Malkin (especially) have their nights off. The difference is that they are pivots, and make others around them better. Neal is a complementary player. If Sid or Geno take a night off, it's usually pretty catastrophic. If Neal isn't on his A+ game, it's not the end of the world. That sucks, but it's the way it is.

And again, he's not a power forward. Comparing Neal to those players is like comparing apples to oranges.
A night off here and there happens to everyone. Neal has been coasting all season, yet people are perplexed why the second line can't score at ES. It isn't a huge mystery.

I already said Neal doesn't have to put people through the boards, he has to fight harder for pucks and to keep moving his feet. He isn't winning board battles, chasing down loose pucks, finishing his hits and he is blowing a number of assignments every single game in his own end. Not to mention all of the lazy, selfish penalties he is taking.

The only excuses I keep hearing is he scores goals, so all of this other stuff, it doesn't matter.

Wrong. It matters. Even "snipers" have to play hard for a team to be as successful as they can be. Telling me Neal can't play hard when I've seen him do it in the past many times, is total BS. When he tries, like he did in the first period, he causes complete havoc. But people are telling me he can't be expected to do this all of the time...

That's the player I expect to see and his teammates deserve.

Making excuses for his current play shows me people truly aren't watching him away from the puck or want to give him a pass because he is potting goals.

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03-05-2013, 02:27 AM
  #182
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Jiggyfly View Post
A night off here and there happens to everyone. Neal has been coasting all season, yet people are perplexed why the second line can't score at ES. It isn't a huge mystery.

I already said Neal doesn't have to put people through the boards, he has to fight harder for pucks and to keep moving his feet. He isn't winning board battles, chasing down loose pucks, finishing his hits and he is blowing a number of assignments every single game in his own end. Not to mention all of the lazy, selfish penalties he is taking.

The only excuses I keep hearing is he scores goals, so all of this other stuff, it doesn't matter.

Wrong. It matters. Even "snipers" have to play hard for a team to be as successful as they can be. Telling me Neal can't play hard when I've seen him do it in the past many times, is total BS. When he tries, like he did in the first period, he causes complete havoc. But people are telling me he can't be expected to do this all of the time...

That's the player I expect to see and his teammates deserve.

Making excuses for his current play shows me people truly aren't watching him away from the puck or want to give him a pass because he is potting goals.
I totally get what you're saying, and I agree to a point. I'm just not worried about it. He plays like he's got a huge chip on his shoulder whenever we play the Flyers or the Rangers, etc.

My worry is that Bylsma or someone mentions that he needs to play with more grit, and it takes away from his offensive game. Complementary player or not, Neal's scoring is very important to this team. As soon as Neal or Kunitz start to fall off or get into a slump, and we start having to rely more heavily on Dupuis, Cooke, or Bennett to put up points, we're gonna be in much more trouble than having to worry about Neal's grit and effort.

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03-05-2013, 03:04 AM
  #183
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+ Sid 1+1. He almost did what he wants.
+ Geno 1+1. The goal was unreal.
+ MAF, he gave us chance to win
+ Kunitz, he scored again.
+ Engo, good fight with Labres
+ Sutter & Jeffrey

- Orpik

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03-05-2013, 03:52 AM
  #184
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As for the Neal debate, there is room in the middle, no?
Jiggy is right to point out that his compete level has been too low on many nights this season, and that is a major reason that his line(s) have been struggling ES; why he got pulled in favor of Dupuis from Crosby's line, and why he has the plus/minus he does. Many of us said this also when Geno was getting hammered for being a minus player.

.... and at the same time.... while wanting more (and effort should be expected from anyone), I agree that we should hardly consider Neal a problem.... it would be if he isn't giving his all consistently when the real season starts though.

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03-05-2013, 05:36 AM
  #185
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why debate about Neal? he's a ****ing beast, we should be happy we got him... look elsewhere for problems, kennedy, orpik ???

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03-05-2013, 05:47 AM
  #186
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I actually think Neal should set up more and stay in the middle of the ice. Make the hit if its there but his role is to score goals rather than make hits. There are times he starts chasing pucks a little to much and he starts reminding me of Feds.

Sykora was a slug that did nothing else but shoot. If Neal keeps his feet moving and does his job defensively he's pretty damn good. Usually he does.

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03-05-2013, 06:02 AM
  #187
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainZappBrannigan View Post
Neal isn't a power forward. He hasn't been a power forward type of player for years. He is a sniper. He finds the soft areas of the ice and uses his shot and release to score goals in bunches.

Maybe when he joined the league he was a bit more of a power forward type of guy, but he hasn't played like that in a long while.

Expecting him to play like a Perry, Backes, or a Lucic is pretty unfair.
his best games tend to come when he plays more like Kunitz at even strength because it creates space for Geno. Especially when Kunitz isn't with Geno, Neal needs to assume that role a bit more. Neal has 10 even strength points this year. He is better than that. Hell, Dupuis and Cooke are better than that with 11 each.

Neal hasn't been a major problem for us, but he hasn't been our best wing either.


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03-05-2013, 07:22 AM
  #188
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i definitely like the neal-sykora comparison-- great shot and little else, most of the time.

occasionally he'll really bring his A game and show you how he can be a physically intimidating player like he was in dallas, but those moments are few and far between.

he needs to try harder.

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03-05-2013, 07:24 AM
  #189
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If Neal added playing all around better game as some folks are asking for, and you add in what he already adds to the mix, he wouldn't have been signed for what he got, he'd be making Crosby money. I don't worry about James Neal.

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03-05-2013, 07:31 AM
  #190
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Originally Posted by Tafkak View Post
7 out of the last 8 games we have given up 3 goals or more. That trend needed to stop a while ago.
It was the same way in October 2011 when i predicted playoff futility because of it. No one seemed to mind because everyone was in "when will crosby come back mode" as if Crosby could fix the defense.

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03-05-2013, 07:32 AM
  #191
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Neal's been a pretty lazy player this season. He can get to another level as a legit power forward. But for now, moving your feet and chasing pucks down isn't asking much.

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03-05-2013, 07:49 AM
  #192
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Kunitz now tied for 3rd in scoring for the entire league.

Shooting a reasonable 24.5%, so it's not likely to continue.

If Neal is "Just a Sniper", many people on this board owe Phil Kessel an apology. I'd much rather have a "sniper" Phil Kessel than a "sniper" James Neal.

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03-05-2013, 07:49 AM
  #193
Mr Jiggyfly
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Originally Posted by CaptainZappBrannigan View Post
I totally get what you're saying, and I agree to a point. I'm just not worried about it. He plays like he's got a huge chip on his shoulder whenever we play the Flyers or the Rangers, etc.

My worry is that Bylsma or someone mentions that he needs to play with more grit, and it takes away from his offensive game. Complementary player or not, Neal's scoring is very important to this team. As soon as Neal or Kunitz start to fall off or get into a slump, and we start having to rely more heavily on Dupuis, Cooke, or Bennett to put up points, we're gonna be in much more trouble than having to worry about Neal's grit and effort.
In just a handful of games Bennett has shown more grit, determination and defensive accumen than Neal has all season. Is he not suppose to try hard because he is a playmaking winger? I'm still trying to wrap my head around why a sniper (which people want to label Neal as) doesn't have to get his nose dirty and work hard.

There is a reason Neal got removed from Crosby's line. That alone speaks volumes about his play this season.

The last few pages are full of excuses trying to explain why Neal can't be expected to play hard every night, and it is almost comical that people have convinced themselves Neal can't possibly play hard AND score goals. Is this the NHL or RHI?

Joey Mullen was a classic sniper who wasn't a gifted skater, but until his final shift in the NHL, he never let anyone on the ice outwork him. His motto was "shoot the puck, listen to the coach and above all else work hard". Now we have people telling me a small, awkward skater like Joey Mullen who was the epitome of a sniper, could work his ass off every shift, but big James Neal shouldn't be expected to be held to such lofty standards?

The thing I find comical is Neal played hard when he first got here and most of last season, but yet somehow, certain posters have fully convinced themselves he just can't play like that... its unfair... he just can't be expected to work hard every shift....

Because... he... scores... goals.

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03-05-2013, 08:02 AM
  #194
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I do think Neal has that "I score goals, so by default, I'm pulling my weight" feel about him. Him being late on back checks and stuff doesn't bother me too much. Him not using his frame in the offensive zone to wear opponents down...that does bother me. I'm not saying he has to be Chris Kunitz, but he doesn't even finish a check at this point in time. He was doing that last season, and he would set up shop right around the net. As time goes on, where he sets up gets higher, and higher, and higher.

He's going to get the Ovechkin treatment if things keep up. Teams are going to figure him out, and he's going to be **** out of luck. He needs to return to what he was at the beginning of last season. Right on top of the net smacking home rebounds, and setting up in the dirty areas - around the net, and in the slot.

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03-05-2013, 08:45 AM
  #195
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Pretty good game all around, lucky bounce for Tampa on their 2nd and what a beauty by Geno!!

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03-05-2013, 08:54 AM
  #196
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Jiggyfly View Post
In just a handful of games Bennett has shown more grit, determination and defensive accumen than Neal has all season. Is he not suppose to try hard because he is a playmaking winger? I'm still trying to wrap my head around why a sniper (which people want to label Neal as) doesn't have to get his nose dirty and work hard.

There is a reason Neal got removed from Crosby's line. That alone speaks volumes about his play this season.

The last few pages are full of excuses trying to explain why Neal can't be expected to play hard every night, and it is almost comical that people have convinced themselves Neal can't possibly play hard AND score goals. Is this the NHL or RHI?

Joey Mullen was a classic sniper who wasn't a gifted skater, but until his final shift in the NHL, he never let anyone on the ice outwork him. His motto was "shoot the puck, listen to the coach and above all else work hard". Now we have people telling me a small, awkward skater like Joey Mullen who was the epitome of a sniper, could work his ass off every shift, but big James Neal shouldn't be expected to be held to such lofty standards?

The thing I find comical is Neal played hard when he first got here and most of last season, but yet somehow, certain posters have fully convinced themselves he just can't play like that... its unfair... he just can't be expected to work hard every shift....

Because... he... scores... goals.
I agree strongly with your assessment. Neal is trending towards PP specialist territory.

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03-05-2013, 09:09 AM
  #197
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Ironic that Neal had the GWG last night..

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03-05-2013, 09:10 AM
  #198
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Yep, lets exaggerate by comparing him to one of the best PF of all time, while excusing him from not trying because he uh... Scores goals. There is a huge gap on the way to Neal playing harder and becoming Neely. Christ.

I can't believe some of us expect Neal to score goals AND play hard. My god we expect so much from him... We can't expect him to keep trying after he played so hard in the first. It's unrealistic to expect guys to play hard for three whole periods.

People can't understand why this team has one of the most elite pivots in the game, but he and Neal "need" Kunitz to have an effective line. Unreal.

Let's look at goal stats and ignore what is actually happening on the ice....
Kunitz helps that line because he's an exceptional board player and puck hound, something Neal has never, ever been known for, even when he's on. Expecting him to all of a sudden be a monster on the boards is as unreasonable as expecting Kunitz to all of a sudden have Neal's shot.

And I don't think Neal's compete level has been anything near as atrocious as you're making out. You are over-exaggerating to make your point. He backchecks as hard as anyone on the team outside of Dupes, and he has 1.5 hits per game.

Neither Neal nor Malkin is a dogged board player, and that was a valuable component Kunitz brought to that line. If we want that line to consistently succeed at ES, it needs to find that attribute elsewhere.

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Sorry bro, but I'm not going to excuse his play because he scores goals.

Backes, Hartnell, Lucic, Kane, Horton, Perry, etc are all considered PFers who can fill the net and they aren't afraid to get their noses dirty and do all of the little things it takes to win.

Anyone who thinks Neal has a compete level like these "ghosts" needs to watch these guys more, because Neal doesn't work nearly as hard as they do... Not by a long shot. It's not even close to be honest.

Even a 35 year old Iggy is worlds above Neal when it comes to compete level.
You've gotta be kidding me with that list. Half of them don't hit and the other half don't score. I wouldn't trade Neal for any of them outside of Perry.

Hartnell and Kane are probably the closest to your ideal...one of them takes more stupid penalties than anyone in the league, and the other's a jackass who puts himself before his team.

Perry would be a godsend, but that's why he's going to make 7 mil plus on his next contract.

The fact is that we got James Neal to score goals. We had a ******** of grinders and muckers, and exactly zero wingers who were one-shot scorers. Well now we have probably the 2nd best player in the league in that regard, and all some people want to do is chew them out for not being Kunitz. That's what's unreal.


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03-05-2013, 09:21 AM
  #199
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Originally Posted by Rowdy Roddy Peeper View Post
The fact is that we got James Neal to score goals. We had a ******** of grinders and muckers, and exactly zero wingers who were one-shot scorers. Well now we have probably the 2nd best player in the league in that regard, and all some people want to do is chew them out for not being Kunitz. That's what's unreal.
This. I don't really care what else he lacks. He scores a crap load of ****ing goals. That works for me.

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03-05-2013, 09:31 AM
  #200
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Neal has never been known to do much more than score goals. His skating sucks, his playmaking sucks, but he's not here to do that stuff. I think it's pretty nit-picky to get on his case about it. As fans, we are extremely spoiled to be able to have such talent on our favorite team. Being nit-picky about that kinda stuff is just silly. Guys like Kennedy and Orpik deserve the **** they get, but getting upset at Neal for not doing stuff he's never done is just dumb.
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I agree with RRP about people being hard on Neal. I don't think he was as bad as people are saying. He's getting chances and they just aren't going in right now but that happens to every goal scorer. Geno is back now and Neal will pick up where he left off.
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Originally Posted by CaptainZappBrannigan View Post
Neal isn't a power forward. He hasn't been a power forward type of player for years. He is a sniper. He finds the soft areas of the ice and uses his shot and release to score goals in bunches.

Maybe when he joined the league he was a bit more of a power forward type of guy, but he hasn't played like that in a long while.

Expecting him to play like a Perry, Backes, or a Lucic is pretty unfair.

This is the perfect example of how ideas propogate out of context on the internets.

WHO is ragging on Neal? I might've missed something I don't think anyone commented on the other aspects of his game but me, and I certainly wasn't harshing on the guy.

I just pointed out that it would be awesome if he improved his skating even a modest amount over the summer, as it would help him in other areas. Examples being he's not quite fast enough to catch people exiting their own zone at times, can't quite hang on to the puck long enough in cases where he's trying to gain the zone... that stuff could all be improved by being a little more efficient skater.

Not thinking miracles here or expecting him to be Alex Kovalev from back in the day, or changing his role significantly (I hope he continues to snipe away / play his own game)... just pointing out that some of the weak edges in his game (see what I did there?) could all be remedied to a degree with better skating. These guys are always pushing themselves over the summer to improve their game; that's where I think he should spend most of his summer vs. in the weight room.

I don't think anyone here is anything but glad we have Neal. I do agree though with whoever said the moment Neal starts scoring 23G, instead of 33-40, people are going to get impatient / rag on him some. And that would be fair IMO. You don't pay a guy $5M to score ≤ 25G a season unless he can do other stuff too. So even there my point stands. By improving his skating some, he would be able to contribute more in other ways when his goal scoring touch is temporarily gone cold.

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