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Early season thoughts on Mike Rupp and the team in general

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Old
10-31-2003, 10:25 AM
  #1
Unthinkable
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Early season thoughts on Mike Rupp and the team in general

Couple of comments jumped out at me in today's NY Post:

http://www.nypost.com/sports/devils/42122.htm

Quote:
"There are people who are calm when things are pretty hectic. I felt calm," Rupp said after last night's heroics. "I'm a pretty laid-back guy. But it's too early for [a clutch reputation]. I'm just looking to be a full-time player right now."
You have to really admire and respect his attitude and humbleness thus far after he didn't make the opening night roster following the listless final preseason performance against the Isles. While its not necessarily new to hear these same sentiments echoed after we heard them last year from players like Rheaume, Marshall, Smehlik, Albelin, Daneyko, Tverdovsky etc... it sure is good to see him handling the revolving lineup changes in proper stride with a team first focus same as Sean Brown and Paul Martin are doing. Burns realizes the interchangeable depth of this team and seems to have an excellent handle on keeping the core players from burning out before the playoffs begin by rotating players in and out of the lineup at all positions keeping guys on their toes as to whether or not they are playing their best game or not.

I don't think its really in Rupp's nature to go out of his way and want to be a wrecking ball night after night based on his comments and watching him play now for the last year plus, but if he plays more games with the consistency and intensity like he did last night, I can see him earning a ton of ice time this season irregardless of what line he plays on. There is a hulk of a power forward still trapped inside him, but somehow someway we'll need more and more help in bringing it out of him more consistently. I feel the more he hits and the more comfortable he gets playing a good bit more physical, he'll realize just how huge of an asset he is to this team and how the sky is the limit with regards to the number of turnovers and ensuing goals he can help the Devils bang in with a commitment to this tenacity. We need someone to get him angry yet also keep him controlled from killing the team with bad penalties before games start. Same can be said about Colin White a few times over.

Last night a comment was made on the NJ broadcast that the Devils have four first lines rolling over the boards right now (as opposed to the two first lines we had last year with the Gomez-Elias line and Friesen-Nieuwendyk-Pandolfo combinations.) I don't know if thats true or not at this point, but it certainly is encouraging that the team is playing quite well for the most part with just a few players still gearing up to get to midseason form. The return of Turner Stevenson to the lineup is absolutely huge imo as the team needs more sparkplug guys with his ability to take the focus off scoring goals away from other teams star players. Marshall can do it as well and he should get better in this department as the season progresses.

Concerns for now: losing key faceoffs in our own zone, keeping the intensity going full bore in the 3rd period, Scott Stevens and John Maddens' continuing slow starts although last night was a step in the right direction as was the game against the Islanders.

Pluses for now: The power play looked really good last night and easily could have netted the Devils two more goals in the game. Puck movement has been great and Larionov is still doing good things out there even though the PP goals have slowed down a bit from the first four games of the year. They are setting up with so much more patience this season - Gomez especially seems far more willing to take extra time on the PP taking cues from Igor's bread and butter natural instincts. PK is looking better - much more like it was last year. Brodeur would like to see this team play games against divisional rivals every single night of the season which bodes very well for us considering our 3-0 record to date.

Questions for now: Will rookies David Hale and Paul Martin continue to integrate well into the Devils system and manage to play a smart simple game without trying to accomplish too much too soon? Will Martin push himself to go for more offense as he feels more and more comfortable with his defensive play? Will David Hale take the next step and show us much more of the physical game he possesses as he feels more and more comfortable with the speed of the game at this level? So far we've just been teased with a single fight outside of what he showed flashes of in preseason. We're a better team when we make our defensive zone a very unfriendly place for opposing teams to enter with the impending presence of huge hits from our more intimidating players, but its always encouraging to see players like Gionta, Elias, and Gomez willing to mix it up along with the rest of the team. Will Corey Schwab manage to play as incredibly this season as he did last year? Seems like we're in for a minor letdown in that department as he was as consistently great as a guy could ever be expected to in his role with so many games off between the real deal. Can Larionov stay healthy for the majority of the season? Will Rasmussen be this years Jeff Friesen career wise? Can Mike Rupp avoid the consistent then inconsistent nights of last year and can Christian Berglund do the same? As excited as Lamoriello was with all the young talent he watched in preseason, will the Rats continuing regular season problems taint this remarkable optimism a fair degree?

Thoughts?

 
Old
10-31-2003, 12:26 PM
  #2
BigBully4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unthinkable
Couple of comments jumped out at me in today's NY Post:

http://www.nypost.com/sports/devils/42122.htm



You have to really admire and respect his attitude and humbleness thus far after he didn't make the opening night roster following the listless final preseason performance against the Isles. While its not necessarily new to hear these same sentiments echoed after we heard them last year from players like Rheaume, Marshall, Smehlik, Albelin, Daneyko, Tverdovsky etc... it sure is good to see him handling the revolving lineup changes in proper stride with a team first focus same as Sean Brown and Paul Martin are doing. Burns realizes the interchangeable depth of this team and seems to have an excellent handle on keeping the core players from burning out before the playoffs begin by rotating players in and out of the lineup at all positions keeping guys on their toes as to whether or not they are playing their best game or not.

I don't think its really in Rupp's nature to go out of his way and want to be a wrecking ball night after night based on his comments and watching him play now for the last year plus, but if he plays more games with the consistency and intensity like he did last night, I can see him earning a ton of ice time this season irregardless of what line he plays on. There is a hulk of a power forward still trapped inside him, but somehow someway we'll need more and more help in bringing it out of him more consistently. I feel the more he hits and the more comfortable he gets playing a good bit more physical, he'll realize just how huge of an asset he is to this team and how the sky is the limit with regards to the number of turnovers and ensuing goals he can help the Devils bang in with a commitment to this tenacity. We need someone to get him angry yet also keep him controlled from killing the team with bad penalties before games start. Same can be said about Colin White a few times over.

Last night a comment was made on the NJ broadcast that the Devils have four first lines rolling over the boards right now (as opposed to the two first lines we had last year with the Gomez-Elias line and Friesen-Nieuwendyk-Pandolfo combinations.) I don't know if thats true or not at this point, but it certainly is encouraging that the team is playing quite well for the most part with just a few players still gearing up to get to midseason form. The return of Turner Stevenson to the lineup is absolutely huge imo as the team needs more sparkplug guys with his ability to take the focus off scoring goals away from other teams star players. Marshall can do it as well and he should get better in this department as the season progresses.

Concerns for now: losing key faceoffs in our own zone, keeping the intensity going full bore in the 3rd period, Scott Stevens and John Maddens' continuing slow starts although last night was a step in the right direction as was the game against the Islanders.

Pluses for now: The power play looked really good last night and easily could have netted the Devils two more goals in the game. Puck movement has been great and Larionov is still doing good things out there even though the PP goals have slowed down a bit from the first four games of the year. They are setting up with so much more patience this season - Gomez especially seems far more willing to take extra time on the PP taking cues from Igor's bread and butter natural instincts. PK is looking better - much more like it was last year. Brodeur would like to see this team play games against divisional rivals every single night of the season which bodes very well for us considering our 3-0 record to date.

Questions for now: Will rookies David Hale and Paul Martin continue to integrate well into the Devils system and manage to play a smart simple game without trying to accomplish too much too soon? Will Martin push himself to go for more offense as he feels more and more comfortable with his defensive play? Will David Hale take the next step and show us much more of the physical game he possesses as he feels more and more comfortable with the speed of the game at this level? So far we've just been teased with a single fight outside of what he showed flashes of in preseason. We're a better team when we make our defensive zone a very unfriendly place for opposing teams to enter with the impending presence of huge hits from our more intimidating players, but its always encouraging to see players like Gionta, Elias, and Gomez willing to mix it up along with the rest of the team. Will Corey Schwab manage to play as incredibly this season as he did last year? Seems like we're in for a minor letdown in that department as he was as consistently great as a guy could ever be expected to in his role with so many games off between the real deal. Can Larionov stay healthy for the majority of the season? Will Rasmussen be this years Jeff Friesen career wise? Can Mike Rupp avoid the consistent then inconsistent nights of last year and can Christian Berglund do the same? As excited as Lamoriello was with all the young talent he watched in preseason, will the Rats continuing regular season problems taint this remarkable optimism a fair degree?

Thoughts?
Yeah, I have a thought. This post is too long. I read the first sentence and stopped. It's November. Relax.

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Old
10-31-2003, 02:28 PM
  #3
I Hate Tie DOMI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBully4
Yeah, I have a thought. This post is too long. I read the first sentence and stopped. It's November. Relax.
You must have had a bad day today after reading your past couple posts. Cheer up its Hallowe'en

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Old
10-31-2003, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonMacIsaac
HAHA, I did the exact same thing
Oddly enough you posted a Devils team preview not long ago that was longer then this one is. Go figure right?

 
Old
11-01-2003, 06:12 AM
  #5
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I'll make this short and sweet. If Rupp plays physical, takes lessons from Stevenson on forechecking, and plays with attitude, he will be a force to be reckoned with. If on the other hand he plays soft, he will be traded.

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Old
11-01-2003, 08:36 AM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBully4
Yeah, I have a thought. This post is too long. I read the first sentence and stopped. It's November. Relax.
Since when are you required to read every word?

And oh yeah, it's November, right? Check it: http://www.hfboards.com/showthread.php?threadid=23615

Never too early to assess the situation and ensure we capitalize on attainable points.

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