I agree with a number of comments regarding Bouw. The Panthers actually played a pretty good game, and could have come away with a W with a bit of luck and better refereeing (Booth/Rafalski no call). Or the Cats could have won if Bouw had actually played hockey instead of badminton.
Last night without exaggeration Bouw was one of the worst players on the Panthers. I mean it. Guess what Bouw? If you want to make the big bucks you have to play like you deserve it. You wanna quit on this team, go ahead, you'll be playing backup to real defensemen on a "real" hockey team. As a fan I for one don't need another primadonna. Bugger off dude.
I'm really happy with Ballard too, a bit of a riverboat gambler at times--but that times because a) he's still young and defensemen do take longer to develop, and b) he cares so much that he wants to create something.
I love this guy because he hates losing--which is a quality you want in every oe of your players. He reminds me a lot of Brian McCabe of a few years ago--he tried so hard to create something when others were floating all around him, that he made a mistake in trying to force things. And then the pucks ends up in the back of your net and everyone starts screaming for your head.
In LA I saw Ballard take a rush at a bouncing puck because there was an opportunity to catch the Kings players flat-footed. Unfortunately, he missed and McCabe had to deal with a two on one (which thankfully went our way).
But I'd much rather have someone who tries to make something than accepts losing. JM needs to find a whole lot more like him, preferably on the forward line.
bouw-- the guy is extremely gifted. he is an unbelievable skater and has great stamina!!! problem is he doesn't seem to have the drive of a phaneuf. he is extremely even keeled to the point of lethargy. he has been showing off his skating ability, but can't seem to finish!!! he's been given ample time and flexibility to play his game, but he just doesn't seem to have the fire necesary to be a top 5 d-man although he has the ability!!!! he's also losing battles down low. the guy has been very disappointing this season AND ISN'T WORTH 7MILL. IMO. maybe he's just going through the motions waiting to leave, but i don't think so because maybe he's lowering his value. bottom line, he's an unbelievable talent and i believe gm's will still be willing to give up a lot for him thinking he will fully develop in a different atmosphere, which may be true, but for me jay definitely isn't doing it for me this year!!!!!!