Saturday night, in his own zone, Tom Poti had the puck, dangerously close to the Oilers net with guys in the wrong uniform all about. Poti pushed the puck up, as if offering it to the opposition, saying “you know, if you try one more time, I bet you can beat Salo”. I came to this site, to post some well worded attack on him, but decided all it would do is cause pro-Poti reactions or “I hear ya” responses.
So, I’ve spent the last two days or so going through NHL history, looking for a clue as to how this story is going to turn out. I asked myself this question:
Who, in the last 30 years, most resembles Tom Poti in both potential and in frustration? How did his career turn out? Did they move him to forward? Did they trade him? Did they hang him? Did they run over him with a large tank? Did they yell at him? Did they protect him? Was he a fan favourite?
I looked long and hard, and came up with three nominees, all of whom played 20 years ago. This works well because we can see how their careers turned out. I’ll mention them in reverse order:
3. Ron Greschner: From Goodsoil, SK, he played in the WHL with New Westminster, and once drafted spent 7 games in the AHL before coming up to the New York Rangers. There’s a long standing rumour that NYR GM Emile Francis spread a rumour that Greschner had a bad injury, which dropped his stock. Have no idea if it’s true. Anyway, Greschner scored 8-37-45 as a rookie, with almost 100 minutes in penalties. This was 74-75, so I’d guess a few of those PIM were of the five minute variety; when posted next to Poti’s rooki Read more»
It appears that Wayne Gretzky and company have a difficult task regarding the selection of players that will represent Canada in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Many writers and fans alike are beginning to question some of the decisions made by our hockey brass. Some cross-examine the merit of the first eight players named to the Canadian squad while others lobby for players who have shone during the infancy of this year’s campaign. Statistically, the “elite eight” have done anything but excel this year which leaves one scratching his/her head as these players have been consummate leaders both on and off score sheets for numerous years. One also must wonder if there is an upcoming group of individuals ready to challenge our definitions of excellence or whether there is another solution to this strange phenomenon.
With almost a quarter of this year’s schedule behind us it seems strange to see the likes of Iginla, O’Neill and Parrish topping sacred categories such as goals, assists and plus minus. To get the full flavour, lets delve deeper into the accomplishments of the players who have already been awarded positions on the Canadian roster. The following player statistics are of November 12/01.
Scott Niedermayer 12 gp 3g 2a 5p +9
Chris Pronger 16 gp 1g 7a 8p -1
Rob Blake 18 gp 3g 8a 11p -4
Owen Nolan 16 gp 6g 7a 13p 0
Joe Sakic 18 gp 7g 8a 15p -4
Mario Lemieux 9 gp 1g 7a 8p -4
Steve Yzerman 18 gp 4g 11a 15p +4
Paul Kariya 16 gp 6g 8a 14p +1
Totals: 123 gp 3 Read more»
If there is one thing that stands out about Brendan Bell it is his skating ability. He “has a powerful stride (and is) able to catch up on opposing breaking players” and is lateral movement “very good, probably his forte.” He goes on to say that “Bell’s defensive positioning is key to his defensive success and uses his exceptional side-to-side movement to block out opposition players.”
However, there is more to the Leaf’s 3rd round pick than that. Bell also comes with a burgeoning transition game included. His first pass is almost always a safe one by choice which is a comfort to a good many coaches who more often than not have to try to hammer that point home. While Dole points out that “(he) might need to become increasingly aggressive to create more offense,” he also goes on to say that Bell is “very good as the trailer (and his) puck control allows for few turnovers in the neutral zone.”
The rearguard while possessing a great slapshot and wristshot from the point “might need to shoot more” according to Dole who explains that “a typical Brendan Bell shot is a low wrister through traffic (which is) very effective in terms of tips.” As for his puck control once in the offensive zone this and stopping it from getting out over the blueline are again marked as strengths and part of what the writer terms “great offensive instincts and anticipation.”
Be that as it may, there are things that the blueliner can improve on. While “his ability to read plays quickly allows him to position himself and find loose pucks” helps him out in front of the net, the corner Read more»
Friday, November 16
Wheeling 4 @ Reading 5
The Nailers won the first game of the season series 3-1 played in Wheeling on November 3. This was the Nailers first ever visit to Reading. The Nailers fell behind 1-0 early in the game on a Reading goal at 3:04. It didnt get easier for the Nailers as the Royals scored three more times in the first period to take a 4-0 lead after one period of play. At 2:09 of the second period the Nailers scored to get back to within three goals at 4-1. Dylan Gyori scored the Nailers goal with Mike Hurley and Dan Kopec assisting. Reading recaptured its four-goal edge with their final goal of the game at 9:42 of the second period.
Before the second period ended the Nailers were able to cut the Royals lead to two goals at 5-3 with an even strength and a power play goal. Mike Hurley scored the Nailers second point at 12:02 with Mark Moore and Bruce Watson assisting. The Nailers power play goal came at 18:58 of the second period scored by Chris Wells with the assists going to Moore and Gyori. Late in the third period the Nailers pulled their goalie for an extra attacker and scored at 19:12 to get to within one goal at 5-4. Gyori scored the goal, his second of the game, from Hurley and Wells. Joel Laing made 30 saves on 35 shots in the Nailers loss.
Saturday, November 17 Read more»