Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Three takes on last night's tilt vs. da Ranguhs

Cam Ward: When he's on, he's like Steve Austin moving in that 1970's slow motion simulation of hyper-speed. He also benefitted from some rare and solid team defense. He was also lucky. Jagr broke a stick ripping at a open net on the back side and Staal bailed him out nicely after he coughed up a juicy rebound.

Eric Staal: A top objective in every team's game planning vs. Canes this year seems to be getting somebody in Staal's grill. Case in point-Holloweg (?) crosscheck of Staal into the post well after the whistle. The kid now wears the "A." I think he needs to start dishing out some punishment. He's big enough. He's strong enough. But is he ornery enough? His peers-guys about his age and physical stature-Ovechkin-Getzlaf-Perry-Nash all deliver punishment when they get the chance. The only real scrum I saw Eric get into was in the closing seconds along the sideboards with his little brother. That was a fun moment. You could tell big brother enjoyed driving little brother's head into the wall with a well-positioned elbow to the back of the neck.

David Tanabe: He's at his best when he can just skate. I think maybe the rigidity and structure of playing defense first stifles the kid's need for speed and artistic freedom. I don't think he enjoys the grinding along the end boards, and since he's not much of a hitter he might contribute more at wing. The Canes use a forward to quarterback PP, and since David is number 5 or 6 on the defensive depth chart, I don't think there's the chance for much of a starring role on the blueline for Avi. I'd like to see more of him at wing on the PP...when the Canes are already up 3-4 goals. I'd also like to see a more extended Tanabe at wing experiment when the Canes have their next injury opening at forward. Go to Tanabe before bringing Bayda or Aucoin back up.

Overall a convincing win at the MSG. One that followed a convincing loss in Buffalo. And before that loss? A luck-enriched win vs. the Craps. And before that? A bad loss to Philly. I see a pattern. Thursday night the Canes are in Tampa. Tampa attacks bettter off the transition than the Canes. Even without Miami University's own Danny Boyle manning the point, the Ning blueline contributes more to the attack than the Canes blueline. I love watching Kuba and Ranger engineer the Lightning breakout.

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