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Realold

Have We Over Estimated Our Player & Coaching Talent?

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Interesting question thats been discussed among a couple of us staff for a few weeks now.

I think based on the success of last season and some of the off season moves made, we as fans may have become a little overconfident heading into the season(which isn't such a bad thing).   There was some concern about the big let down that would come if the team didn't come out of the gates well.  Its hard to pin point what exactly was the difference last year that helped to get things turned around for us.  The coach being fired, struggling players were moved down to less pressured lines and certain player changes were made that could all be pointed at to explain the turn around, or....it could have just as easily been the players themselves deciding they'd had enough of their own inconsistent play and stepped things up too.

Our vets are a year older and we are one of the oldest teams in the league right now but its hard to believe they just forgot how to play with one another over the summer.  We did lose some of the scoring defenseman from last year but the offense hasn't changed that much to explain this decline in performance.  I kind of like how the defense was sured up but I thought that a tighter defense would allow the offense to take a few more risks and be able to sustain an attack longer.  Is this a coaching decision or is it player confidence keeping them from taking a few more risks?

Im sure the "Mo must go" folks will point to coaching and the "Vets are too old and slow" folks will point to ability and confidence but neither is clear to me.  What is clear is that it isnt working right now so something will need to be done soon, even if its only to send a message to players and coaches.  Personally, and based on the talent around the league, I'm leaning toward the fact that our talent  isn't at the level as some other teams but history has shown us time and time again that in pro sports, raw talent is only one of the pieces that make up a championship team.

  

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Wow, lots of good questions and thoughts about this already. Probably as fans with the changes that were made OUR expectations are probably alittle to high for sure.As far as talent we have some really good talent on the team. For some reason they just don't seem to be able to get it altogether and find their "style of play". I think that is how MO put it last nite and he is dead on. 1 game we play physical,then we don't,1 game we shoot everytime we get the puck,next game we don't. Good defense then poor defense,,ect ect. I think alot of our problem is we don't have a true 1st line,from end to end. May have a few 1st liner players (Staal,C.Ward) but the rest of the team is pretty much interchangeable. We have alot of vets that just don't seem to have it in them anymore. Yes they try as hard as they can,but just like any of us that are getting old we just can't do things like we use to. I really think that if we are going to be a mid-pack team that our younger guys need to be getting alot of ice time/experience this year and not wait until next year and go thru all this again. Hey you never know how things might go with some new young talented guys.May light a spark under the entire team. If playing with what you have isn't working then try something or someone else on the ice.

 Coaching i think is alright, may just have to expand their horizons. Maybe get some new insight on the PP!

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I don't know if I would say that we over estimated but we should have high expectations. The team had a great run at the end of last season. Hoping to continue that we added some size to the line up. Just does not seem to be working right now.

I would like to see some of the youngsters called up. (Sutter/Boychuck)

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I think the teams every bit of what we thought they were and that's a very good team. You dont just come back in the 3rd twice if you suck. You come back in the 3rd because the gameplay this team is accustomed to is "allowed" when were in a situation that it doesnt matter if they score again. The mixed system worked and I mean really worked.

It's there it's a matter of when the coaches can come to terms with taking some risks, we dont need to take 100% risks like Lavi's system but you gotta let your players know if you can beat someone on a pinch you gotta go for it.

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This has always gotten the best of me, Mo's tell them everything and nothing approach to what is going on. His style of coaching lends itself to a defensive style of play. A lot of 2-1 wins/losses but not much else. This works good if you have a first line like Pitts/Craps but not so well with our lineup. He will turn this team into the '02 and '03 teams.

A lot of you didn't like Lavi but his run and gun/score in bunches style seemed to work with these guys. If you put enough goals in on your opponent they will shut themselves down. This worked for us because we had Wesley/Hedigoochie on the back end but with the current roster ended up exposing one draw back, if you have 5 guys in then there is no one to help the goalie if you make a mistake. you need a d man that can really skate and stay close to home.

I like a previous posters suggestion of bringing up Bowman/Sutter/Boychuk and let those guys be our second or third line, see if our "stars" wake up.

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I think Maurice hockey philosophy causes players to be less aggressive offensively. I don't have a clue what Frances' philosophy is, and I think Maurice needs a stronger/effective offensive coach to balance his cautious/opportunistic offensive philosophy.

In 2005-6 Culley was huge, even after breaking his jaw.... because he was on the 3rd line playing heads/shoulders better than the other team's 3rd line. He's pushed playing against the other teams 2nd line, and we're draining him & Rosey with the heavy special team minutes. That's an issue that was raised Sunday during the STH's Q&A with Tom & Tripp, it was raised about Staal's minutes vis-a-vis Ovechkin/Crosby...we require Eric to play significant minutes on the PK. To me the issue goes beyond Staal. That Maurice puts his best & most talented players on the PK is not helping these guys focus on their primary duty, score goals. In 2005-6, with the exception of Rod, our PK was manned briallantly by our 3rd & 4th line guys(Rosey  was 4th line then and we got huge minutes/energy from the Adams' boys) not our 1st & 2nd line guys. We're running up the minutes of our offensive players doing defensive duty & I see this draining their energy. While PK minutes are down recently, there still there & for sure we're still allocating time practicing PK. Let's protect Culley & Staal's energy and find out if our 3rd & 4th line guys can carry the PK responsibility.

 

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Realold said:

Have We Over Estimated Our Player & Coaching Talent?

Some very good questions and makes you think. The problem is I don't think we have the answers to some of these questions. That has never stop me before so I'll give you what I think. Our expectations are high. We think our talent is there but I don't think we are really sure.  The coaching staff  and especially MO has to prove himself to us now that they built this team for MO and company.

Is Staal really a super star or is he a really good player?

Staal is without doubt a very good player, lots of talent and maybe will be a superstar but not yet. He is among the best but not yet among the elite like Sid, Malkin or Ov.  Every time they step on the ice they can carry a team and win a game single handed. Staal will try to carry the team on his back but doesn't have the supporting cast to always pull it off. But he is a NHL star and a talent and we are better with him on the ice. I just don't think he has joined the elite yet.

Are LaRose, Cullen, Samsanov, Jolkin really top 6 talent or are they really good top 9 or 12 players?

LaRose -no but he will give you evrything he has and can skate top 6 from time to time.

Cullen - no I think he is a better 3rd line center

Samsonov- has been, could be, a big maybe

Jokinen- I think Jussi is top 6

Is our defense able to shut down teams & start the break out from our zone?

I think they are capable. We haven't seen the A team on the ice together much this year.  Just give the puck to Joni  he can carry it out.

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I thought we made a mistake by building around 2 young talented players (Staal - Ward) with Veterans. Doesn't work. We need another young fast talented skater and have needed one for years.  Cole is okay, Jussi is okay but I'm talking a big prospect. Therefore I think we are OVER ESTIMATING our GM. Sure he is good at what he does but he is scared to get rid of some Vets for a young player.

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Is Staal really a super star or is he a really good player?

I think Staal is more of a Batman (who needs a Robin) than he is a Superman who can do it on his own.  Batman is still a bad man.

Are LaRose, Cullen, Samsanov, Jolkin really top 6 talent or are they really good top 9 or 12 players?

LaRose,great character and energy guy who can be plugged into most top 9's and occasionally into top 6. Cullen, 3rd line center.  Samsonov, a big dissappointment at this time and some of the worst spent money on the team (unless his play picks up),  Jokinen, top 6 guy who I want to see beside Staal (what do we have to lose?)

Is Frances ready to be the offensive coach, or is he needing a mentor?

Not a clue. 

Is our defense able to shut down teams & start the break out from our zone?

Better than last season, but too hurt to know at this time.

Based on the playoffs and the end of the season last year, I don't think we overestimated anything.  It's too early to tell.  I do want to see a message sent to the players and see a 2nd line of youthfull Rats for a couple of games.

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Is Staal really a super star or is he a really good player?

Are LaRose, Cullen, Samsanov, Jolkin really top 6 talent or are they really good top 9 or 12 players?

Is Frances ready to be the offensive coach, or is he needing a mentor?

Is our defense able to shut down teams & start the break out from our zone?

  

Is Staal really a super star or is he a really good player? 

We are wasting Staal's talent every year we fail to put a playmaker on his wing.  This has been discussed ad nauseum.  Is Staal a superstar, I'd say yes.  Not an elite player, but in the next conversation.

Are LaRose, Cullen, Samsanov, Jolkin really top 6 talent or are they really good top 9 or 12 players?

Cullen, IMO, has been one of our most consistent players.  It seems the Juice just needs ice time. Sammy has been dissapointing.  Rosie is Rosie.  So, I'd say everyone except the Juice would be third or fouth line guys.  The Juice could rotate in and out.

Is Frances ready to be the offensive coach, or is he needing a mentor? 

No clue?

Is our defense able to shut down teams & start the break out from our zone?

That's a team effort. The forwards have to back check.  So far, we haven't been consistent anywhere on the ice except in goal, IMO.  I'll give Cam a mulligan on shootouts.

  

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I like the other answers to the original question and mostly concur.

As to the question about our current defensive state.  There is no doubt that our acquisitions in that area...primarily Ward and Alberts over the Summer...have solidified our weakness.  I liked Seidenberg...he blocked a lot of shots, but I like Alberts a million times better...he hits a ton.  I didn't care for Kaberle, I did like the shot of the Russian Concussion...but his defensive skills were sub par.  Our defense is massively improved and impressive with the pairings....so long as Timmy is ok, I'm confident our defense can really destroy another team's offensive efforts.  The primary 3 pairings need a few more games together to really get to know the habits of one another, but our defensive line is living up to my pre-season expectations. 

As to the offensive woes....some of the issues I attribute to a weak pre-season plan.  The rest I attribute to mis-placed loyalties.  I don't think that our prospects were given a fair shot, I think the Canes might have benefitted from the insertion of some younger players onto the team.  Some youth and enthusiasm might have helped the Canes break their funk.  I hate to hurt Albany right now, but if these guys can't get things together, I wouldn't be opposed to bringing up a few youngsters, and benching the non-performers...or healthy scratching them.  I think Kostopolous needs to be moved up onto one of the top 3 lines as well....he has been very impressive in the few shifts I've seen of him, but you don't get to see much of Kost because he has been relegated to the 4th line.

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I'm gonna throw something out that hasn't been discussed.  When was the last time you saw or heard our Captain respond with anything, whether we were winning or losing.  Who's team is this?

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I'm gonna throw something out that hasn't been discussed.  When was the last time you saw or heard our Captain respond with anything, whether we were winning or losing.  Who's team is this?

IMHO, that is the problem with our team, its not the player, I just don't see much emotion out of him at all.  Mo and JR said in the summer that the Captain slot was up for grabs, and that Brindy would get no gaurantees.  Furthermore, Sutter shined in camp and looked good in the preseason.  I think Sutter's destiny this year was pre-ordained when they brought on Yelle.  Therefore, JR and Mo's pre-season statements about our Captain were a farce.  I love Brindy, but I'm not so sure he should still be the Captain. 

  

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Here is a question for you'll.  First of all I want to say before I ask this question, I love the way Ruutu plays the game.  But is he really a first line player?  He doesn't seem to have the consistency to play every night on the first line. Some nights I think wow this guy is a all star and the next night he looks like a fourth line player. Walker is playing as well or better then Ruutu right now and the team had Walker on the fourth line to start the season.

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Here is a question for you'll.  First of all I want to say before I ask this question, I love the way Player X plays the game.  But is he really a first line player?  He doesn't seem to have the consistency to play every night on the first line. Some nights I think wow this guy is a all star and the next night he looks like a fourth line player. Player Y is playing as well or better then Player X right now and the team had Player Y on the fourth line to start the season.
I just substituted Player X and Player Y in for Ruutu and Walker, and that's the problem with this team.  We have too many Player X's and Player Y's and not ANY first liners to play beside Staal.  We've got a team full of 2nd and 3rd liners and a 4th line better than most teams.

  

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I'm gonna throw something out that hasn't been discussed.  When was the last time you saw or heard our Captain respond with anything, whether we were winning or losing.  Who's team is this?

This is an excellent point.  I love Brindy and he's meant a lot to this team over the years but the last time I remember was after the "goaltending duel" match against the Devils (at NJ) back in the playoffs - the 1-0 loss.  He said "You can't hang your head on a loss like that."  

I'm not saying that was for sure the last time he spoke out, but it's the last I can personally recall.  Anyway, I agree - he's been too quiet for too long.  Not sure where our leadership is right now...  At this point, we need a Herb Brooks-style speech in the room.  Inspire some confidence.  Either that, or piss them off.  

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[quote name='CarolinaGirl77 wrote:


coastal_caniac']I'm gonna throw something out that hasn't been discussed.  When was the last time you saw or heard our Captain respond with anything, whether we were winning or losing.  Who's team is this?

This is an excellent point.  I love Brindy and he's meant a lot to this team over the years but the last time I remember was after the "goaltending duel" match against the Devils (at NJ) back in the playoffs - the 1-0 loss.  He said "You can't hang your head on a loss like that."  

I'm not saying that was for sure the last time he spoke out, but it's the last I can personally recall.  Anyway, I agree - he's been too quiet for too long.  Not sure where our leadership is right now...  At this point, we need a Herb Brooks-style speech in the room.  Inspire some confidence.  Either that, or piss them off.  

I'm not sure what confidence Brindy is giving to the team, but his actions haven't been making the fans confident for quite a while.

  

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I like Ruutu on the first line because he brings some extra physicality to the line. What do you all think the ideal lines should be (including any rats that could be called up)?

I like..

1. Whitney-Staal-Ruutu

2. Samsonov-Brind'Amour-Jokinen

3. LaRose-Cullen-Walker

4. Kostopoulos-Sutter-Boychuk

Not sure about having two call-ups on the same line though.

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I like Ruutu on the first line because he brings some extra physicality to the line. What do you all think the ideal lines should be (including any rats that could be called up)?

I like..

1. Whitney-Staal-Ruutu

2. Samsonov-Brind'Amour-Jokinen

3. LaRose-Cullen-Walker

4. Kostopoulos-Sutter-Boychuk

Not sure about having two call-ups on the same line though.

If we were to call up any Rats, they won't be playing on the 4th line.  While it may help this season to have them here, just playing them 4th line minutes hurts their overall development when they could be the 1st line in Albany, adjusting to the pro game there.

I'll give this a few more games before coming to any conclusions about us being overrated.  

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Good questions, my 2 cents worth:

Is Staal really a super star or is he a really good player?
You can put Staal in that elite status, but he doesn't have the right supporting cast. Crosby isn't Pittsburgh. He's got Malkin and J. Staal. Crosby isn't counted on to carry a team on his back for 82 games. Same with Ovechkin. He's got Backstrom and Greene. If they have bad nights or go on a scoring drought as Ovie did for 3-4 games, they have a Backstrom or a Malkin to pick it up. We don't have anyone that can do that. Staal's points would be higher, if he had the right linemates. I can't count the number of times he's set up a great play, only nothing to come out of it because his linemate whiffed, shot wide, or shot right at the goalie.

Are LaRose, Cullen, Samsanov, Jolkin really top 6 talent or are they really good top 9 or 12 players?
LaRose is nowhere near a top 6 player, nor his Samsonov. Cullen and Jokinen are more Top 6 material than the other 2.

Is Frances ready to be the offensive coach, or is he needing a mentor?
Francis, IMHO is not ready. He's got to get this PP going before I say he's ready.

Is our defense able to shut down teams & start the break out from our zone?
Having Pitkanen miss all but 3 games, hurts us more than people think. Having him out of the line up makes us rely too heavily on Corvo. Corvo is a good player, but if you give him too much to do and he becomes the go to guy, you'll get more mistakes out of him and you'll see the Uh Oh Corvo that Sens fans called him. I can see the difference having Pitkanen in the line up makes with our transition. His passing is just something no one else on this team can do. Not to mention when he does have the puck, like Forslund says, his heart rate goes down. laugh.gif


One other thing, I do think we look slower this year. The young Islanders were just skating circles around us and I think with our vets being another year older, they are also another step slower. I would love to see some youth injection, Sutter/Boychuk, but I just don't think we will see it this year. Unless we are so far out at the deadline that the vets get traded at the deadline.

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This team is aging before our eyes and we have gradually but steadily traded scoring for role players. Brind'Amour stopped being himself about 2 years ago, but no one knows how to tell the emperor he has no clothes, and at least change captaincy. We are a team with beautiful complementary players and yes Staal is a superstar, but not even Crosby can shine if you put him with second/third line players. Yet, this was all true last year also, but this bunch made an improbable run at the end, breathing life into the idea that they could do it again, right at this moment it is legit to ask if it is going to turn.

We simply do not have the kind of talent at the first line level of any other elite team. We should have enough talent however to compete to at least .500 level. This team can beat anyone if firing on all cylanders, but no team will fire on all cylanders 60 minutes of every game. That is a cliche that NO team ever achieves. The good teams have enough talent to win when they are not on top of their game. Yes Ward and Staal will steal a few games, but that may not be enough. We can certainly go on a run with our current team, but I'm not sure about a sustained 82 game slog. League parity may give us a chance, but we are going to need to find some scoring and some powerplay, or it will rapidly devolve into a rebuilding year. BTW Cole is not that guy, so if that's the plan hold on tight.

If we continue to struggle through this road trip I would bring up at least Boychuk.

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Is Staal really a super star or is he a really good player?

Are LaRose, Cullen, Samsanov, Jolkin really top 6 talent or are they really good top 9 or 12 players?

Is Frances ready to be the offensive coach, or is he needing a mentor?

Is our defense able to shut down teams & start the break out from our zone?

Edit: fixed the language filter issue for you.

  

I read more than I post here, but I do like what has been said, and this is a very interesting topic.

I agree Staal is not at the same elite level as OV or Sid, but as everyone else has stated, is this because we don't have a top line winger for him?  Should JR have gone after someone to play on the same line as him?  Staal has the potential to be a great player, and I have seen this spark in him, but only when Brindy is out and hurt.  Is there something here?  Does Staal feel shadowed by Brindy?  Maybe the C should be taken away from Brindy.  Don't get me wrong, I love the man and what he has done for the team, but maybe his time as a captain is up.

Chad would be typical 3rd or 4th line IMO.  He has spunk and attitude and I love that, but is he a second or first liner, no.  Jussi, I feel should be on one of the top two lines.  He deserves that shot with the way he has played.  If Chad and Cully have that spark, then I say leave Cully on the third line with Chad.

As for Frances, I'm not sure honestly how to answer that one.

Joni has only been back for a couple of games, and now Timmy is hurt.  I honestly feel once our d is healthy and stays healthy, they'll be able to gel and hopefully play the way we are expecting them to.  Joni can move that puck though.

  

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As frustrating as this season has been so far I think there are a lot of valid points being thrown about on here.  Here are some of my opinions...

Staal is still hurt, it reminds me of the beginning of last season - he took a hard hit early v.s. the Kings and was playing hurt for a while.  I think this might be the case, not that it's an excuse but it might explain a bit of his uneven play.  He is a superstar in my honest opinion, he steps it up when the games count in the playoffs, he just needs to get back to being 100%.  You can tell  he's frustrated with his play, and he still has the fire.

Missing Erik Cole has hurt, if you look at the first game and a half he played, he was very solid -skating well, driving the net and creating space for his line mates and drawing penalties.  No one has really stepped up into this role, not sure that we have anyone with the blend of size/speed/skill to do it at this point.  When he returns it should help out the offensive production.

There is a lack of chemistry so far as well between the team, whether this is due to the lack of full team practices or a short pre-season or whatever you have to believe it will start to iron itself out.  I think we need some more consistent lines and stick with them.  Players have to want to step up and the constant line shake-ups might cause some of the loose/sloppy play.

Our defense has been very uneven this year, I really like the play of Alberts and it's great to have Pitkanen back, but again Wallin has been a liability - it seems we're content having him in the top 6 because of his size, which is really too bad.  We have better options out there than him, he cannot cover down low, he's awful at trying to transition and he makes poor decisions.  His elevated ice time and pairing with Corvo is baffling to me.

When was the last time the Canes had more than one rookie?  Sutter was with the team last year for 50+ games - I'm talking some young blood - there is a risk to playing young guys, but I would think they should bring some new energy and intensity which is what we're been lacking.

All my points are pretty generic and general, I still think this team has the potential to contend they just need to get it together and take the first step.

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I'm sorry - but here is the problem as I see it - and I base this completely on the Canes games I have seen (all of them) and a handful of other teams play...

Lack of coordination - WHO IS DOING WHAT???

I watch the other teams play and I CONSISTENTLY see someone in front of the goalie. Screening and looking for rebounds. I RARELY see it from our team (outside of PP). I see oodles of blind centering passes WITH NOBODY HOME.

Watch the Pens (and even Tampa Bay). Their offense is simple....throw pucks at the net and get a rebound goal OR throw a centering pass because a TEAMMATE WILL BE THERE. It's not rocket science.

I'm no NHL coach....but keep the lines static AND ASSIGN A ROLE. Fill in names as you see fit:

Line 1. Player A...man the point after puck is brought into the zone.

Line 1. Player B...ALWAYS crash the net and screen the goalie.

Line 1 Player C...ALWAYS be ready to cycle and keep the puck IN FRONT of the net.

etc. etc. etc. It's like someone said before...a team full of role players. I will take it, IF EVERYONE knows their role. We switch the lines too often.

Baskeball analogy....the Center can't bring up the ball...and the point guard can't guard the opposing center.

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