JR's hit on the first shift was a monster, and helped set the tone for the whole game. He may have been the second best player on the ice [to Conroy] all night- hitting, skating, getting his rocket of a slapper off. I've been down on JR recently, but I have always said he could still turn it around for the season. I hope yesterday was a breakout game that will shape the rest of the campaign. He HAS been starting to play better while on the line w/Conroy and Demitra, and obviously he was plenty pissed about getting left off Team USA. I also wonder how much of it might be him seeing what Luc is going through [AM having the sack to actually bench the ultimate LA fan favorite], and doing everything he can to avoid that? Hopefully AM's gambit pays off for both of them- JR gets "scared straight" and Luc gets inspired by JR's turnaround [and gets his ankle completely healthy again]- one can hope.......
Now, talking about a guy w/serious SACK, Avery straight up went against one of the toughest guys in the NHL when he fought Jovo. This is the guy who knocked Deader out in a fight, remember. Sean's giving up SERIOUS size and weight to Jovo, and he stood in there straight up- even took his own helmet off. For all the Avery haters who think he doesn't back up his talk, just look at that. Plus, he was skating like a madman last night, getting shots, killing penalties, etc. That penalty on him later in the game was a complete joke, and he just continues to play well. I'm glad he's getting even more ice time lately; the boy can play hockey- period.
He has been one of our most constistant players this season. Been very happy with his play, he should get career numbers for goals and assists. Dude showed serious nad, sticking up for his frenchy linemate . Less dumb penalties+ good decisions with the puck=valuable team player imo.
That hit by JR on Morrison was HUGE. Because what I took from it was that JR is finally "ready" to play. By making that hit, he made himself fair game for nucks to take shots at him. Up until that point it seemed like he was more or less avoiding contact, playing a perimeter game. It said a lot to me about where he is mentally. I'm not ready to say that JR is "back" or that we can count on him to play that way for the rest of the season (or even a full game), but it was a very encouraging sign and a glimpse of what a lot of us (I think ) have been expecting.
As for Avery, the guy just plays hard. I love his game. When he's on the ice things happen and he's constantly in the play. Rarely does a game go by where you don't notice what Avery is doing. His transition game is underated, IMO. When he gets the puck in the defensive zone, he's great at getting the puck going the other way and putting pressure on the other team's transition defense.
Funny how these threads turn so positive after a 3 game win streak!