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top-shelf-1

The elephant in the room

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Its true most people are producing decently, though most of them have gone down in their production. Though I would much rather start a younger player over an older player, when they are completely equal in skill, but the younger guy has more drive. If someone doesnt care enough whether they win or lose, than that is someone I dont want on the ice. Id rather see a guy giving 110% every night, sacrificing the body and doing all the little things then an older guy who is past his prime. Plus the younger guy will get valuable experience, so that maybe he can become useful in the next few years.

I'm not a Pens fan by a longshot, but them starting all the youngsters in the Playoffs last year is great experience that they can use this year. They will easily make the playoffs, probably at the #2 seed, and I would bet that they will get much farther this year than last, due to the fact that almost all of them have been there before.

Now I'm not saying we should bench all of our old guys, because some of them are still doing great (Wesley), but I would definitly like to see more from guys like Borer or Aucoin. If everyone was healthy then I probably wouldnt be saying this but since we are in desperate need of healthy guys why not give them more time?

I completely agree, but don't trash all your vets for all the youth. You can't win the cup with a team with no experience. Veterans stand up when needed, youth just tries to stay standing. If there is a youth with as much skill as a vet, with more jump and drive, they will play in the big leagues. Look at Staal, he came here, blew everyone's mind, and made the team through training camp, a feat that only he has done.

EDIT: Also, I think Kabs should have been placed on waivers, and Borer should have stayed with the team when he was originally called up. That could have avoided the trade for Corvo. Not that we wouldn't have needed him, but the desperation for him wouldn't be there. I think every Defense pairing should have one OD and one DD. One to back up the other guy if he joins the rush. Borer + Wesley, Corvo + Hedican, Kaberle + Wallin, Gleason + Conboy.

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O.K., first, I'm not advocating blowing anything up. I AM saying it's not enough to have earned your spot on the roster two years ago. You need to go out and earn it every night.

Here's my list of guys that have consistently played below their ability this year:

Brindy (Yup, top of the list. As the Captain goes, so goes the team.)

Wallin

Cole

Letowski

Kaberle*

Hedican

Grahame

*has played below ability, but played way beyond his ability in 05-06.

To be fair, here's my honor roll:

Cullen

Walker

Wesley

Ward

Ladd

Gleason

Staal

LaRose

Both lists leave off currently injured players (excepting Brindy and LaRose since they just went down), new players, and AHLers. I'm looking at our core group. Others not named are neither stellar nor harming us; they're just "there."

Not sure if you're evaluating play or setting a roster with the lists. If roster, I have no problem. If you're listing this about this year's play, I'd have to disagree with Ward and Staal on anything close to "Honor role" status. Both have been way too inconsistent. My 2 cents, and I respect your list.

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EDIT: Also, I think Kabs should have been placed on waivers, and Borer should have stayed with the team when he was originally called up. That could have avoided the trade for Corvo. Not that we wouldn't have needed him, but the desperation for him wouldn't be there. I think every Defense pairing should have one OD and one DD. One to back up the other guy if he joins the rush. Borer + Wesley, Corvo + Hedican, Kaberle + Wallin, Gleason + Conboy.

Yeah I wish we could have gotten rid of Kabs, we dont need his big salary here anymore. I really like the idea of Borer/Wesley bc maybe we could get somewhat of a mentor thing like JJ and Blake in LA. Plus they are both great defensively.

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Not sure if you're evaluating play or setting a roster with the lists. If roster, I have no problem. If you're listing this about this year's play, I'd have to disagree with Ward and Staal on anything close to "Honor role" status. Both have been way too inconsistent. My 2 cents, and I respect your list.

Thanks ManWolf. I considered both aspects, roster and performance. Staal was on my *edit* list until early Jan when he began to take charge. And I agree that Wardo has been a shadow of the keeper he was during the Cup run, but that said, there have been a heckuva lot of nights when he's left it all out there for 2 periods and was clearly fatigued in the third due to our crummy play on D. If I have to choose between him and Crackers, it's Cam every time.

IceFrog, I'll just say there's more to Hedi's play than +/-. He came out on fire with the rest of the team in October but in the last 3-4 weeks it's been one lazy penalty after another. He's getting beat and hooking or tripping the guys that beat him. Sure sign of a guy who's lost a step. I'd much rather have a guy with Walker's energy, regardless of numbers. But then again we're comparing apples to oranges, a d-man vs. a forward.

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I'll just say there's more to Hedi's play than +/-. He came out on fire with the rest of the team in October but in the last 3-4 weeks it's been one lazy penalty after another. He's getting beat and hooking or tripping the guys that beat him. Sure sign of a guy who's lost a step. I'd much rather have a guy with Walker's energy, regardless of numbers. But then again we're comparing apples to oranges, a d-man vs. a forward.

I agree on Hedican. He has had his good moments but if there was a stat for lack of poise with the puck when attempting to clear your own zone he'd be the team leader by a wide margin. Honestly, for a guy with his experience, he plays the puck like a hot potato when there are better options available. His speed helps cover up some of his mistakes but overall, despite his +/- number he hasn't been that good.

Walker, as you mentioned, is very valuable and you have to consider his role and who he plays with before just simply perusing his stat line to understand his value.

So it's an interesting observation. You're right you can't compare them but in Hedican's case the good stats belie his bad play while Walker's modest stats don't reflect his actual contributions. As I've stated before, stats are supporting arguments not the argument itself but in some cases stats alone are very misleading.

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I just have a question if we are talking about producers vs. loyalty. I have read thoughts on who should stay... who maybe should go and the question is which catagory is Eric Cole in? :huh:

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To be honest, I've alluded to this a few times myself in the past couple months. The older players just don't seem to have the same drive and desire to win that our younger players do. Guys like Brindy, Hedican, etc seemed to have already mentally checked out of their careers after their names were engraved on the Cup and they're just now only playing to earn the paycheck. Going through the motions, so to speak.

I don't think they've mentally checked out. Brind'Amour had that leg/foot problem earlier. We have no idea whether that ever fully corrected itself or whether he's had lingering issues. I'm no Hedican fan, but the dude has had constant health issues. I'm still ticked he didn't retire before the season started. I sure hope he does after this one because his constant knee, hip, back problems aren't doing any of us any good.

I think this team got a big head early on and then slacked off. THen they started losing and lost their confidence. It certainly must be discouraging to TRY to put the puck in the net and the bounces don't go your way. So, you quite exerting as much energy. The newbies and Rod's injury are providing the spark needed to get everyone back working hard to make it happen.

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TopShelf - I think Letowski has stepped up in spades to fill in for Brindy on the first line. He's good at faceoffs, is decent on the kill and is certainly an energy guy. I disagree with your assessment of Ward. He has been waaaay too inconsistent. He's an underperformer. While I agree with your ranking of Kaberle, I do think he played a pretty good game last night - much more aggressive and he logged a heckuva lot of ice time, too!

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Thanks ManWolf. I considered both aspects, roster and performance. Staal was on my *edit* list until early Jan when he began to take charge. And I agree that Wardo has been a shadow of the keeper he was during the Cup run, but that said, there have been a heckuva lot of nights when he's left it all out there for 2 periods and was clearly fatigued in the third due to our crummy play on D. If I have to choose between him and Crackers, it's Cam every time.

well, i might be only the third person on this board to agree with the two of you regarding Staal and Ward. i really do try to sometimes watch the play away from the puck and i just haven't been so impressed with staal's effort for the majority of the season. there are many instances where he doesn't seem to make that extra push to beat a skater to the puck...doesn't use his body like he could...ect. i will admit that he has played with more vengance since mid-january, and it shows in the last two games especially. not to say that the kid isn't going to develop into a wonder (experience + 20 lbs...he gets pushed around a LOT), but he just isn't there yet. it's not fair for some of our fans and the media to place the entire responsibility of us making the playoffs on his back.

as for Wardo, you have to say he has been more consistent as of late (some exceptional games as a matter of fact) and i agree that he can be only as good as the d-men in front of him. last night, his head just wasn't in the game...or he wasn't seeing the puck...whatever. thankfully JG came in and did a great job. c'mon...even marty brodeur has a bad night now and then. (and no, before i get flamed on that one, i'm not equating ward with brodeur.) and yes, we've had more bad than good since november....but i think an obvious improvement with the changes out in front of the goal.

all said, the team seems to be rising to the occassion and pulling it together as a whole. lets just hope it continues and brings us another playoff spot. remember, it ain't over til it's over......... ;)

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I don't think they've mentally checked out. Brind'Amour had that leg/foot problem earlier. We have no idea whether that ever fully corrected itself or whether he's had lingering issues. I'm no Hedican fan, but the dude has had constant health issues.

This speaks to the point I made before about injuries and fits nicely in the context of this thread's premise, which is this: Let's not be so slow to bring in fresh blood from our own organization, REGARDLESS of why a player isn't producing.

If Brindy's still hurt, let him rest and heal. I mean, it's bewildering to me that Seidenberg -- who is making a fraction of Brindy's salary -- is encouraged to do so, while we're (apparently) asking Brindy if he's ready to go each night, taking his word that he is, and watching him give the puck away in our end time and again. We all know he's far better than that, and I frankly don't care whether it happening because of an injury or that's he's mentally checked out. It's all about the bottom line, and the bottom line is he hadn't been bringing it like he's capable of doing before we got Samsonov, and has shown mere flashes of what he's capable of since we did. Sit him down until he's so hungry to get back that the hunger shows up in his play.

Same goes for Hedi. If he's hurt, he doesn't play. To be brutally honest, had I known about Joey Mormina I'd have been screaming long ago to sit Hedi's butt down and give this kid a chance. How much worse can he be? And he's got Chara-like size, 6'6" 220 (well, O.K., 3 inches shorter and 35 lbs. lighter) -- and he's not at least on our bench??? Given our D's performance??? Are you freakin' kiddin' me??

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...

well, i might be only the third person on this board to agree with the two of you regarding Staal and Ward. i really do try to sometimes watch the play away from the puck and i just haven't been so impressed with staal's effort for the majority of the season. there are many instances where he doesn't seem to make that extra push to beat a skater to the puck...doesn't use his body like he could...ect. i will admit that he has played with more vengance since mid-january, and it shows in the last two games especially....as for Wardo, you have to say he has been more consistent as of late (some exceptional games as a matter of fact) and i agree that he can be only as good as the d-men in front of him. last night, his head just wasn't in the game...or he wasn't seeing the puck...whatever. thankfully JG came in and did a great job. c'mon...even marty brodeur has a bad night now and then. (and no, before i get flamed on that one, i'm not equating ward with brodeur.) and yes, we've had more bad than good since november....but i think an obvious improvement with the changes out in front of the goal.....

You may have hit on something here. It occurs to me that some posters aren't attending games, and may be getting the televised view. My concerns about Staal very much have to do with what I see away from the puck, especially when the puck heads towards our defensive zone. I doubt the camera catches him as the last player behind many plays, and that is a sore point for me. Last night's goal, a real uplift to the team, was very fortunate where he was behind the play. It was Cole that made the sacrifice behind the net. It luckily came out the unexpected end, and Staal made a very good, quick play to get it past Vokuon on the vacated side. However, I was shocked to see the N&O give him the number 2 star of the game, and not Samsonov, or even Ladd.

As for Ward, it was interesting listening to "The Aftermath" on 850 and hearing how he was screened, etc. and then reading today's paper where he "stopped" 10 of 13 shots. Yikes, what spin. Believe me Lavi wouldn't pull him in the middle of a period if he wasn't shaky. It is a tough move by a coach, and one they're reluctant to make since it clearly points the finger, especially in a 3-2 game (at that time). So who do I believe, Lavi (and his coaches), or the spinmasters?

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Just looking at the highlights, Ward should have stopped 2 of the goals, at least. One was apparently tipped, so I'll let that one slide.

Ok, but my $$$ is still on Lavi. I don't think he was trying to motivate the team, since they were playing well (and hard) from the outset.

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He "stopped" 10 of 13 shots. Yikes, what spin. ... So who do I believe, Lavi (and his coaches), or the spinmasters?

Yeah, sometimes sportswriters are more afraid about how their report might affect their relationship with their source than just telling it like it is. The right construction would have been "he stopped ONLY 10 of 13 shots," and let the chips fall where they may. Heck, even Cam would say that's just not acceptable.

Good point on Staal, it was his obliviousness to proper positioning in the early part of the season that mystified me. He's still lagging occasionally, but he has the ability to finish around the net that we so badly need.

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This speaks to the point I made before about injuries and fits nicely in the context of this thread's premise, which is this: Let's not be so slow to bring in fresh blood from our own organization, REGARDLESS of why a player isn't producing.

If Brindy's still hurt, let him rest and heal. I mean, it's bewildering to me that Seidenberg -- who is making a fraction of Brindy's salary -- is encouraged to do so, while we're (apparently) asking Brindy if he's ready to go each night, taking his word that he is, and watching him give the puck away in our end time and again. We all know he's far better than that, and I frankly don't care whether it happening because of an injury or that's he's mentally checked out. It's all about the bottom line, and the bottom line is he hadn't been bringing it like he's capable of doing before we got Samsonov, and has shown mere flashes of what he's capable of since we did. Sit him down until he's so hungry to get back that the hunger shows up in his play.

Same goes for Hedi. If he's hurt, he doesn't play. To be brutally honest, had I known about Joey Mormina I'd have been screaming long ago to sit Hedi's butt down and give this kid a chance. How much worse can he be? And he's got Chara-like size, 6'6" 220 (well, O.K., 3 inches shorter and 35 lbs. lighter) -- and he's not at least on our bench??? Given our D's performance??? Are you freakin' kiddin' me??

It could be alot worse trust me... I certainly have not been a big fan of Hedi since he came back but Huge Size doesn't equate to good defenseman and actually the opposite is generally true. Chara and Pronger are exceptions to that. I watched Joey for much of the time he spent on the ice last Thursday and he is not sound AT ALL positionally and his linemates saved his Butt on numerous occasions during his few minutes on the ice. He may be one day but we have better players to field than him right now...

He's back with the Rats for now.

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You sound like a shop steward, Sucka. Talent is more important than experience - and the talented guys happen to be young.

Ottawa won each of their first 3 rounds in 5 games, so the Penguins are hardly a good example to use in that instance.

You need a healthy balance of youth and experience. You can't have all of one and expect to be a Cup Winning team. Leaders don't just have talent, and they just don't have experience, they have both, plus leadership of course. Without certain leaders on a team, you won't go anywhere under that pressure.

EDIT: And Topshelf, a much more rational way of saying this was to say Deal out certain veterans for prospects and draft picks. I would be happy to see us do that, with the way our young rats are responding to the call up.

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You need a healthy balance of youth and experience. You can't have all of one and expect to be a Cup Winning team. Leaders don't just have talent, and they just don't have experience, they have both, plus leadership of course. Without certain leaders on a team, you won't go anywhere under that pressure.

EDIT: And Topshelf, a much more rational way of saying this was to say Deal out certain veterans for prospects and draft picks. I would be happy to see us do that, with the way our young rats are responding to the call up.

Yeah I would definitly like to see some of our older guys go, especially if they are just going to retire this summer, bc then we could build for the future some.

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EDIT: And Topshelf, a much more rational way of saying this was to say Deal out certain veterans for prospects and draft picks. I would be happy to see us do that, with the way our young rats are responding to the call up.

I didn't realize you were the arbiter of rationality for this board, sorry. :rolleyes:

On top of which, that's not what I was saying; I said exactly what I meant. Dealing out veterans, in most cases, should be a last resort. I'm saying sit their butts down and let them fume a while and maybe get their hunger back. We need to get over the whole "disrespecting veterans" thing that others have mentioned, and put them on notice that they have to EARN their place on the roster night in and night out.

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Dealing out veterans, in most cases, should be a last resort. I'm saying sit their butts down and let them fume a while and maybe get their hunger back. We need to get over the whole "disrespecting veterans" thing that others have mentioned, and put them on notice that they have to EARN their place on the roster night in and night out.

Sitting your veterans is like burning your money. Play your veterans or trade them. I believe getting rid of Adams was the notice. If you don't play the vets you won't be able to get value for them. Of course, that being said, they have to actually perform to get value.

Who would you have sat?

Kaberle - probably

Hedican - not likely, still the fastest or one of the fastest cane

Wesley - no

Commodore - no

Gleason - no

Wallin - maybe, he has been a bit clumsy with the puck this year.

Tanabe - well, he has been out so long......

Notice, I only list D-men because that is the area everyone agrees is weak.

Not sure who else you list as veterans. So far, Rats have been good but have we really seen a consistent run with them. Give it a few more games and I will have confidence. Also, let's see how they play banged up. Which is part of being an NHL'er.

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I didn't realize you were the arbiter of rationality for this board, sorry. :rolleyes:

On top of which, that's not what I was saying; I said exactly what I meant. Dealing out veterans, in most cases, should be a last resort. I'm saying sit their butts down and let them fume a while and maybe get their hunger back. We need to get over the whole "disrespecting veterans" thing that others have mentioned, and put them on notice that they have to EARN their place on the roster night in and night out.

Don't insult me with your sarcasm. You inclined that we should scratch our vets, and play our youth. One of the teams biggest problems is that we're the oldest team in the league. We have too many vets and not enough youth. Don't deplete the vets by production, but by leadership. A perfect example is the Washington Capital's captain Chris Clark. He is a 3rd line player, but his leadership is much more than his production. You can't always judge a player by the numbers.

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Yeah, I agree that balance is good. I just thought you were being a little overly critical of the Penguins roster. They have

vets, of course, but mostly in support roles. Apparently, their young stars don't need - or supply their own - leadership.

Yeah, I was talking about how the GM was acting with Recchi, Sykora, and Roberts earlier in the season.

.

Last thoughts: Youth can only take you so far, you ride on it, but do not rely on it. Eventually there will be a time when the young call-ups will start to feel like they have a comfortable grip on the roster, and their flames will go down.

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