Good morning, boneheads! Another great piece written by our own bonehead. SN with a report card! Thank you, SN!
No review of the team would be complete without a ‘Report Card’ to hand out individual grades.
AV: (C) trying to have it both ways, playing go-go style without talent to shoot puck, win puck battles and a D which struggles to move puck. Round peg/Square Hole which reaps gains in Fall but wavers in Spring?
Arniel: (Inc.) only CCCP knows what he really does and he’s not telling us!
Ruff: (Inc.) – half season of more of the same from this group points to the issue not being the coach, at least, the defensive coach…
Allaire: (A+) the Goalie Whisperer is a gift from the gods.
Henrik: (A) early struggles brushed off, moved out of net, much more aggressive, seems quicker; still loses his stick and cannot effectively move puck but stopping ze puck he does well. Emerging grey hairs in whiskers is cause for concern.
Pav: (A+) this guy was playing in a Prague Beer League (mmm….beer) or something like that when he was brought in with many questioning the move, but have no fear, the Goalie Whisperer is near…
McD: (B-) too many WTF moments when compared to seasons’ past. His advanced metrics are far above other D speaking to lack of quality partner as primary culprit. Lingering groin issues? SN said groin.
Holden: (C) bit of a high wire act that will play the body, join the rush and shoot the puck but has too many crisp passes to the tape of opponents in the slot and struggles moving puck. Forced to be playing way above his wage grade.
Shea: (C+) Up and down season for the young pup; tremendous skating but lousy positioning and, at times, a lack of basic hockey instincts. Has played more physical and improved on wall. Needs to get his shot through more.
Staal: (C+) found his home on 3rd pair and has provided some consistency to his game, albeit still challenged making passes to the tape and loses sight of puck in skates. 1 dimensional player providing zero offense; like none.
Shatty: (C+) looked like burnt toast in first 10 games, rounded into form and helped PP which then faltered with Zika’s absence. Best passer on team, hands down. Not great in own zone, but that’s not his game; just ask Trots.
Smitty: (D-) looked like he was still on a bachelor party bender; plays physical, much better suited to second half hockey. Has some decent mitts but tries to skate through 2 guys which usually ends up in a 2 on 1 the other way.
Kamper: (inc.) hasn’t played much but only righty D save for Shatty on roster so gets some game time. Will play body and join the rush. Can get squeezed on wall and not provide enough support in Dzone.
Zika: (B) another injury, though not as severe as last year, with long term ramifications as its his 2nd or 3rd concussion. Has an awesome shot and during first 20 games his line was the best at possession time and scoring chances.
Kreider: (B+) Beast on the forecheck who still has trouble moving puck on fly out of Dzone. Great net front presence on PP which doesn’t show up in personal stats. His injury will hurt this O big time. Hope he mends well.
Butch: (B+) best mitts on team and showing a willingness to engage on the wall. Future is bright, but effectiveness will decrease without Kreider fishing out pucks for him. Breat 3rd round pick; has 25-30 potential.
Nash: (C-) just cannot lift puck in tight or he would have 25 goals. Starts out strong in games but seems to fade in second half of game. Solid on PK but need to pass more when drawing D and stay on his F’n skates.
Haze: (B+) poor guy was emerging as a 2nd line pivot when they moved him to checking center role. Has performed well in that role. Still bad habits on stick handling too much and refusing to shoot. Stats would be better if Nash could finish.
Grabby: (A+) this guy is just the gift that keeps on giving. 18 ES goals and must lead team in prime scoring chances, has been bounced around lineup, but produces and plays great PK. Upcoming UFA will generate interest if they don’t sign.
JT: (B) emerging as leader on team, been playing all over lineup which speaks to his versatility. Not enough 5v5 offense, solid on FOs and playing on 1st PP with Kreider out, one of very few to consistently win 1v1 wall battles.
Zucc (B-) he compiles points but also will disappear for long stretches in games not for lack of long shifts… Needs to shoot puck more as he has a great shot but always looking for pretty pass. 1G in last 12 games; 1 PPG on season.
VC (B+) has mostly played a bottom 6 role but somehow has 9 ES goals tied for 2nd on team; now getting PP time. Nash probably blocking him from more prime TOI. Playing a more complete game but still challenged in Dzone.
Dijonaise (B) many said who? when they signed him but has provided great work on the dot, nice set up ability and plenty of smart plays with puck. On D he is a liability and the fear is his game is not suited for tight spaces in 2nd half.
Fast (A-) early swoon coincided with his absence. Heart and soul player with good eye-hand for deflections and has showcased an ability to rifle puck when set up this season. Wish he was 2″ and 25 lbs. bigger. Fearless on wall.
Boo (B) has emerged as a solid bottom 6 pivot with a tremendous stride and willing to be physical. Has some horrendous rookie moments with D coverage but has been effective in his role.
Carey (B+) has grown on me, initially thought he was too slow and coughing up the puck too much but his game has improved with more ice time and plays his role as forechecker well and always crashing net when he can.
Lettieri (inc) just called up so not enough to judge but willing to shoot, skates like a demon and willing to engage on wall.