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News & Notes 2010-2011 III

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Old
05-18-2011, 03:39 PM
  #76
RandyHolt
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I think Alzner's problem from day 1 were all issues out of his control. We had mediocre vet defensive LD's stacked up in front of him, taking his prime role and prime spot, for 2 years.

He did everything the coaches asked, including learning/playing the more difficult off side, and embraced being the prototypical step up risk taker. He appeared to me to be very coachable. He struggled with the full plate that the team laid on an old fashioned stay at home kid.

His deficiencies of strength didnt hurt his game. His game was Sarge like, stay back, positioning and keeping it simple, not winning a feats of strength game. Only we didnt let him do that.

Almost everything was stacked against him. No mentor, wrong side, not letting him find his NHL footing doing what he does best before changing him, resigning mediocre guys that played his role (Mo). I am sure there are more. Snubbing him for Sloan. facepalm city.

Not once did I hear anyone say he only needed to add strength. He didnt have a spot on the roster, as you well know inside and outside of hockey, you can never have enough defensemen. He had to beat out one of Poti Sarge Erskine SMo both those years. Wow. He didnt wow the coaches. he is not a wow player, how could he wow to win a job?


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05-18-2011, 04:05 PM
  #77
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Alzner can't lift weights in an Nhl facility?

If you're insinuating that we were protecting him by keeping him in the A, we weren't. It's a rougher league and he picked up his first concussion there.
I'm saying that last year the Caps were in a win now mode and they felt Alzner, because he clearly wasn't strong enough, was not the best option for win now.

It is easy to say now that Alzner would have been better in the playoffs this year if he had played more last year but the Caps were not thinking about this year when they decided to keep Alzner in the AHL for most of the year last year they were thinking about last year.

If they had known they were going to have a fantastic regular season but then fall early in the playoffs they likely would have approached things differently but obviously they had no way of knowing that.

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05-18-2011, 04:09 PM
  #78
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I'm saying that last year the Caps were in a win now mode and they felt Alzner, because he clearly wasn't strong enough, was not the best option for win now.

It is easy to say now that Alzner would have been better in the playoffs this year if he had played more last year but the Caps were not thinking about this year when they decided to keep Alzner in the AHL for most of the year last year they were thinking about last year.

If they had known they were going to have a fantastic regular season but then fall early in the playoffs they likely would have approached things differently but obviously they had no way of knowing that.
That because critical thinking and forsight is LACKING!

I'm sure you'll address what I said eariler as my response to this item would be the same.

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05-18-2011, 04:23 PM
  #79
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I think without a doubt he was physically stronger this year than he was the previous season and stronger last year than he was the season before that.

He struggled mightily his rookie pro season in his NHL call ups with the size of most NHL players. He struggled less but still had issues with the size of NHL players last year. This year he handled things better, but still needs to get stronger IMO.

IMO for many guys coming out of juniors, whether to the NHL or AHL, the biggest hurdle isn't the skill level required to play at that higher level but simply playing against men as opposed to boys. I agree Alzner's skill level was NHL ready, though maybe after a shorter apprenticeship in the AHL, but he was nowhere near ready physically for the NHL.
I'm with you on this. Alzner definitely was not physically ready 2 years ago and was probably borderline last year.

What makes people think Alzner wouldn't have gotten a concussion if he played in the NHL all year last year? There are more men playing in the NHL than the AHL.

I would have loved to had him get the experience at the NHL level, but I'm not sure it would have been an overall positive one.

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05-18-2011, 05:38 PM
  #80
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How do we know he wasnt physically ready? When he was paired with Juice as a total noob, that pairing did great. Sure it only lasted 10 games or so. He was not losing physical battles embarrassingly otherwise George would have never let him get abused like that for 30 games.

I have heard that the play in the AHL is much more physical than the NHL. The NHL games are the least physical I have ever seen. Night after night.

Since he was a team worst -4 in the playoffs, I think its reasonable to assume the AHL playoffs didnt prepare him for the speed of the NHL playoffs.

I am not sure his AHL experience was an overall positive one.

Was the Alzner wasnt strong enough crowd sure that MJ was strong enough, ready to play on the smaller rink? If he was buried in Hershey would you say it was better for him than NHL time... how do you know?

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05-18-2011, 06:02 PM
  #81
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how do we know he was? how do we know he wasn't? we don't. like so many other things, we look on with our amateur eyes and our looking in from outside point of view and make our judgements. some of us judge like we would do better.

who knows.

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05-18-2011, 08:48 PM
  #82
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all i know is I was rarely happy with how Alzner was handled over the two seasons.

We were rebuilding! That is the time to use your young studs and let them learn. We preferred vets over letting Alzner grind his teeth and learn here. He had to get stronger somewhere. I obviously think he could have learned everything here. He had to anyways.. The AHL is not the NHL. Having him there delayed the inevitable. They have a weight room at Kettler.

If we were on the cusp of a cup and didnt want to risk a greenhorn blowing it, sure. We were rebuilding. And are still rebuilding. Thats when you use your young players. And finally thats what George did this year. With SMo being here, we choked anyways. Is that not worth something in the argument?


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05-19-2011, 08:08 AM
  #83
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IMO Alzner needs to work on his speed, other than that he's going to be a solid "stay home" defenseman.

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05-19-2011, 08:27 AM
  #84
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That because critical thinking and forsight is LACKING!

I'm sure you'll address what I said eariler as my response to this item would be the same.
I understand what you are saying but IMO that is a completely different argument. Could they have built a better blueline that would have enabled them to deal with Alzner's strength issues and still have been just as good as a team? Sure but that doesn't change the fact that Alzner had, and still has to a point, strength issues.

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05-19-2011, 08:39 AM
  #85
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How do we know he wasnt physically ready? When he was paired with Juice as a total noob, that pairing did great. Sure it only lasted 10 games or so. He was not losing physical battles embarrassingly otherwise George would have never let him get abused like that for 30 games.

I have heard that the play in the AHL is much more physical than the NHL. The NHL games are the least physical I have ever seen. Night after night.

Since he was a team worst -4 in the playoffs, I think its reasonable to assume the AHL playoffs didnt prepare him for the speed of the NHL playoffs.

I am not sure his AHL experience was an overall positive one.

Was the Alzner wasnt strong enough crowd sure that MJ was strong enough, ready to play on the smaller rink? If he was buried in Hershey would you say it was better for him than NHL time... how do you know?
How do 'we' know anything when it comes to the Caps? We watch it and read about it for the most part. Alzner lost the vast majority of his physical battles his rookie pro year when in DC and the majority of them last year. He finally got to the point where he was winning more than he was losing this year but I still expect him to improve quite a bit in that area over the next couple years as he continues to get stronger.

And comparing what it takes physically to play defense in the NHL to playing forward, especially as a scoring line forward, is very much apples and oranges IMO. You can have a decent season and not win a single physical battle all season in the role Johansson played. That isn't anywhere close to the case playing defense.

But all that being said I completely agree that Alzner would have been better this year and in the playoffs if he had played all year in the NHL last year. But the Caps as a team last year would not have been as good with Alzner back there and last year was not about doing what was best for this year but about trying to win and it is hard to argue with how that team performed, in the regular season at least.

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05-19-2011, 08:44 AM
  #86
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all i know is I was rarely happy with how Alzner was handled over the two seasons.

We were rebuilding! That is the time to use your young studs and let them learn. We preferred vets over letting Alzner grind his teeth and learn here. He had to get stronger somewhere. I obviously think he could have learned everything here. He had to anyways.. The AHL is not the NHL. Having him there delayed the inevitable. They have a weight room at Kettler.

If we were on the cusp of a cup and didnt want to risk a greenhorn blowing it, sure. We were rebuilding. And are still rebuilding. Thats when you use your young players. And finally thats what George did this year. With SMo being here, we choked anyways. Is that not worth something in the argument?
I don't think they were rebuilding last year. They thought they were ready to compete for the cup and they had an amazing regular season to show that. If they had known they were going to fall at the first hurdle in the playoffs then I'm sure they would sucked it up and let Alzner spend the whole season in DC but how were they supposed to know that?

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05-19-2011, 08:45 AM
  #87
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After Alzner's long NHL stint 2 years ago (I believe it was around 30 games or so) it looked to me like he had really slowed down and looked tired out there towards the end of that stretch. I took that as a sign that he wasn't physically ready to handle a full NHL season.

I could have gone either way last year, and the situations they put him in didn't exactly play to his strengths. The way the roster was constructed, there really wasn't a home for him. That I can see as a valid criticism of GM if one believes Alzner were ready for a full year last year, but management didn't apparently feel the same for whatever reason.

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05-19-2011, 08:52 AM
  #88
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The SMo years were a waste. Last I saw he got benched in the playoffs. Decked into Huet. Limping against Pitt. I still dont see the harm in letting Alzner learn everything he learned in Hershey, here instead. All the strength he gained in Hershey, here. He is a defensive dman. Its not like he needed to learn to play defense. And he held his own in his 30 games in his rookie season. All the chemistry he formed in Hershey, he could have formed here, with more than just Carlson. Like Green. Ovi. The boys.

Weak or tiring - so more minutes in Hershey, he wasnt more tired?

Sure he got worked over at times. All our regulars did as well. Our collective D play in the playoffs sans Alzner was horrible. Without Alzner here, the cries of Fix the D were common here.

With our dominant offense, it was the perfect place for him to be intergrated, surrounded by our core of mediocre vets. Stick him with Poti all year, mentor him. Development 101 stuff.

What does the organization have to show from the shun Alzner for SMo years. We eeked out one playoff series win thanks to a bad angle shot from old man Feds. Who later played D in overtime, our SMo led D corp, that weak.

I still grade a part of his development plan on how the big club did shunning him. We choked. Shunning him for a vet for a better chance a cup failed. George's idea failed. Hindsight is 2020 but I was calling for Alzner to be here during the early years of our rebuild all along.

Rebuilding 101 starts with using your best young players early and often. Thats how you build a contender from within. I dont think that is debatable.


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05-19-2011, 09:17 AM
  #89
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Rebuilding 101 starts with using your best young players early and often. Thats how you build a contender from within. I dont think that is debatable.
But they weren't rebuilding last year. They were in win now mode and put a 127 point, Presidents Trophy winning team on the ice to show it. They failed in the playoffs no doubt but it wasn't because of Morrisonn or a lack of Alzner it was because a team that scored 318 regular season goals could only manage 1 per game over the last 3 games of their 1st round series.

Now you can argue whether they should have been in win now mode or not but they were coming off a good regular season and a playoffs where they took the eventual cup winners to 7 games in round 2 the year before so I completely understand why they thought they were ready to compete.

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05-19-2011, 09:39 AM
  #90
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But they weren't rebuilding last year. They were in win now mode and put a 127 point, Presidents Trophy winning team on the ice to show it. They failed in the playoffs no doubt but it wasn't because of Morrisonn or a lack of Alzner it was because a team that scored 318 regular season goals could only manage 1 per game over the last 3 games of their 1st round series.

Now you can argue whether they should have been in win now mode or not but they were coming off a good regular season and a playoffs where they took the eventual cup winners to 7 games in round 2 the year before so I completely understand why they thought they were ready to compete.
See I think thats the root of the problem or debate. Ovi should have expedited the rebuild in my eyes, or caused a near full abort of the build america's team plan. Go get Pronger. Win a stinking cup. But no. We build up our D with average vets and failed.

Finally, George regressed and continued the rebuild this past year integrating 2 greenhorns full time, that I bet some here would argued needed more Hershey time, to get stronger. Carlson and MJ. 3, if you count Alzner. 6 if counting our goalies.

So George sure hindsight 2020 should have never have gone with his half assed win now plan, which included retaining SMo. His plan failed. Part of the plan was shunning Alzner to win a cup.

It seems George has been quite busy juggling rebuilding and trying to win a cup. By trying to do both at the same time, he did neither fully. Alzner, our shutdown pair DD guy, only had 1 stinking NHL playoff game under his belt, as a result. 1 game.

I refuse to see how the handling of Alzner helped our team nor his development. I watched almost every shift of Alzners in his NHL career, and I never said to myself, yeesh that guys confidence is going to get shattered, he is embarassingly weak and overmatched. his career has a chance at being ruined, after watching him get burned. Not one time. What I did say, was George and Bruce were idiots for shifting him to RD and forcing him to step up and play moving forward before he had his NHL footing. Forcing a demotion. That was much more damaging than STL scoring a goal on him.


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05-19-2011, 10:01 AM
  #91
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The SMo years were a waste. Last I saw he got benched in the playoffs. Decked into Huet. Limping against Pitt. I still dont see the harm in letting Alzner learn everything he learned in Hershey, here instead. All the strength he gained in Hershey, here. He is a defensive dman. Its not like he needed to learn to play defense. And he held his own in his 30 games in his rookie season. All the chemistry he formed in Hershey, he could have formed here, with more than just Carlson. Like Green. Ovi. The boys.

Weak or tiring - so more minutes in Hershey, he wasnt more tired?

Sure he got worked over at times. All our regulars did as well. Our collective D play in the playoffs sans Alzner was horrible. Without Alzner here, the cries of Fix the D were common here.

With our dominant offense, it was the perfect place for him to be intergrated, surrounded by our core of mediocre vets. Stick him with Poti all year, mentor him. Development 101 stuff.

What does the organization have to show from the shun Alzner for SMo years. We eeked out one playoff series win thanks to a bad angle shot from old man Feds. Who later played D in overtime, our SMo led D corp, that weak.

I still grade a part of his development plan on how the big club did shunning him. We choked. Shunning him for a vet for a better chance a cup failed. George's idea failed. Hindsight is 2020 but I was calling for Alzner to be here during the early years of our rebuild all along.

Rebuilding 101 starts with using your best young players early and often. Thats how you build a contender from within. I dont think that is debatable.
Not having played in either the AHL nor NHL, it has been my understanding that minutes in the minors are not as taxing as the ones in the NHL. Plus, Alzner likely would have received much less ice time with the Caps and probably wouldn't have received much time on special teams either.

I can see it either way, but being the risk-averse person I am, I can appreciate the move that GM made. It is incredibly easy to look back now and wonder what might have been had he been thrown into the fray but it could very well have set him back and he might not be the player he is today.

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05-19-2011, 10:26 AM
  #92
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I do appreciate that George made a half assed cup run, but dont do it at the expense of your top pick that was closest to ready, include him in the process, not exclude him.

That second year of retaining RFA SMo is the one that really burned me.

I dont think we handled Alzner's development well at all. Amazingly, Bruce and George saw the light and at least let the kid play LD for a year. I am thrilled we picked up another right shot Wideman helping ensure he is not the one to get the short straw go play RD of the LD's. Why our noob was the choosen one to move to the right, over Erskine, Sarge, Poti, Sloan, was flat out dumb - almost inexcusable from my perspective on developing kids. Practicing it in Hershey for a year... obviously failed.

I a huge fan of his seem to be one of few to single out his failures. I could see him failing a mile away, our kid stay at homer LD, with little NHL footing, moved to RD and asked to be a risk taker, with no mentor. Who couldn't see that train wreck coming.

The silver lining was it opened the door for Carlson who replaced him 16 months ago, and proved he didnt need to be buried in Hershey either.

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05-19-2011, 11:01 AM
  #93
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Practicing it in Hershey for a year... obviously failed.
What? How is that obvious now? As long as the Caps have 3 right shot defensemen on the roster he probably isn't going to be asked to play on the right much but down the road who knows? But you've decided already that he can't now nor will he ever be able to be able to play on the right?

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The silver lining was it opened the door for Carlson who replaced him 16 months ago, and proved he didnt need to be buried in Hershey either.
Carlson was a much bigger and stronger kid than Alzner. Size and strength were then and will likely be for a while much less of an issue for him than Alzner.

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05-19-2011, 11:10 AM
  #94
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I understand what you are saying but IMO that is a completely different argument. Could they have built a better blueline that would have enabled them to deal with Alzner's strength issues and still have been just as good as a team? Sure but that doesn't change the fact that Alzner had, and still has to a point, strength issues.
Oh I agree he had issues. Still does to an effect. Its a matter of how much would they have mattered in the past given an alternative blue line.

To me thinking three steps ahead instead of looking at Alzner in isolation in 2009 would have made a better blue line in 2009... and made Alzner better by now.

But that's just my opinion from then and continues til now. Of course you can't prove either way... so no reason to harp. But its another data point for me that shows GMGM's limitations to counter the obvious strengths we know he possesses.

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05-19-2011, 11:25 AM
  #95
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But they weren't rebuilding last year. They were in win now mode and put a 127 point, Presidents Trophy winning team on the ice to show it. They failed in the playoffs no doubt but it wasn't because of Morrisonn or a lack of Alzner it was because a team that scored 318 regular season goals could only manage 1 per game over the last 3 games of their 1st round series.

Now you can argue whether they should have been in win now mode or not but they were coming off a good regular season and a playoffs where they took the eventual cup winners to 7 games in round 2 the year before so I completely understand why they thought they were ready to compete.
Do you believe that Alzner couldn't have got OJT for 82 games and still be in a win now mode? Aren't you the poster who said Chicago's 5/6 didn't have a major bearing on them winning a cup?

Wouldn't you agree that there are times you take an upfront hit, ie KA perhaps underperforming a vet for 60+ games, in order to get a better investment on the back end... maybe KA outperforming or equaling them in the playoffs in 2010? Especially if you're not a bubble team?

To me GMGM just wanted to stockpile Dmen. That was his way of competing. He wants to have 9-10 come playoffs and the easy way was KA in hershey. The hard way would have been to spend assets come deadline time to get depth D, which is expensive. He would have put himself in a "losing the battles" situation on nearly all fronts to achive what was necessary IMHO. But he chose the easy and defendable solution to his boss.

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05-19-2011, 11:35 AM
  #96
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Personally after watching the incredibly awful way they 'developed' Eminger I am more than happy with how they developed Alzner. I'll take possibly overcooking a guy in the AHL over rushing him to the NHL when he might not be ready every time.

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05-19-2011, 11:57 AM
  #97
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I dont think anyone can prove anything here beyond a shadow of a doubt, obviously. But I for one never categorized Eminger as a can't miss kid. Regardless of how he was developed and our perceptions, he has eeked out over 400 NHL games. He is still milling around, a regular in the NHL.

It just seems too convenient to pick out a 1st rounder with limited AHL time that is not a star, and say, see? The guy "rushed" that did well, oh him, well he didnt need the AHL time, obviously. All our debates are after the fact.

I seem to remember Eminger being overweight and maybe a fat cat of his time. And all the hail the king prospects bust all the time.

Maybe he was just a bad pick by George, all the time in Portland wouldnt have signficantly changed what he is today. He did get 100 games. Did he need 200?

It all comes back to George. Eminger is not going to be at the top of his resume. Either he was a bad pick at 12 or wasnt developed properly. No one can prove it was either.

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05-19-2011, 12:16 PM
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Man this another new off-season low....nit-picking Alzner's dev, sigh.

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05-19-2011, 12:20 PM
  #99
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05-19-2011, 12:26 PM
  #100
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Do you believe that Alzner couldn't have got OJT for 82 games and still be in a win now mode? Aren't you the poster who said Chicago's 5/6 didn't have a major bearing on them winning a cup?

Wouldn't you agree that there are times you take an upfront hit, ie KA perhaps underperforming a vet for 60+ games, in order to get a better investment on the back end... maybe KA outperforming or equaling them in the playoffs in 2010? Especially if you're not a bubble team?

To me GMGM just wanted to stockpile Dmen. That was his way of competing. He wants to have 9-10 come playoffs and the easy way was KA in hershey. The hard way would have been to spend assets come deadline time to get depth D, which is expensive. He would have put himself in a "losing the battles" situation on nearly all fronts to achive what was necessary IMHO. But he chose the easy and defendable solution to his boss.
I said the 'Hawks number 6 didn't play much of a role in them winning a cup. Sopel's 18+ minutes a game definitely were important. Hendry's 8? Not so much...

I think when you decide to take the shorter term hit and when not to is dependent on a lot of things. But in this case you have to look at it from the perspective of what they knew going into last season. No way can you look at the defense going into last season and say it is anywhere close to veteran and thus easily able to handle Alzner.

And yes I do think organizational depth played some part in the decision simply because outside of Green and Poti you could have written question marks of variable sizes next to every other guy's name. IMO any bit of veteran status a player had on that blueline carried more importance than it would in a group with a more established core. It is not like it was obvious when looking at that team in it's totality on paper that they were going to be the best team in the league in the regular season by a decent amount.

Again, it is much easier to look at things with the knowledge having seen 2 more regular seasons and 2 more playoff 'runs' brings but the call on the best way to handle Alzner and move the team as a whole forward needed to be made going into last season. It wasn't quite as clear back then how things were going to play out as what we know now...

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