Ron` wrote:The biggest question I have is why is this guy playing third line center if he is projected as a top 5 scoring winger?
Draftnik wrote:Very entertaining game last night. I actually switched over from hoops around the 13 minute mark of the 2nd period and stayed with it most of the night. I watched it again Tivo style this morning.
Kessel showed me things I had not seen in his game before. He sees the ice much better than I thought. he has a great sense of anticipating where his teammates will be, especially Potulny on the PP. His assist on the 3rd Minn goal was a play most NHLers can't make. He tool a pass from Goligoski and one timed across the box to Potulny. The puck was barely even on his stick. He took the pass and flawlessly tapped it across the ice in one swift motion. It happened so fast that Potulny fumbled the puck a bit before shooting and Goepfert still didn't get across to stop the shot. He had a beautiful behind the back backhand assist to Potulny on the 5th goal where he had his back to the play behind the net and still knew where Potulny was going. He softly backhanded the pass with his back to the play and put it right on Potulny's stick for the tap in. The ref missed his assist on the 4th Minn goal as Kessel was the last Gopher player to touch the puck before Potulny scored, but it looked like Kessel might have been shooting. It wasn't a classic pass.
Kessel also had a couple of nice plays in the 1st period where he dummied the play on a cross ice pass ala Lemieux in the 02 Olympics. It was nothing quite as dramatic as allowing the puck to go between his skates, but he did know where his teammate would be on the other side of the ice. He fought through checks, played extremely well along the boards especially down low in the offensive zone. He came back into his own zone down low, won a majority of the draws he took, and effortlessly rushed the puck into the offensive zone to help set up the Gopher PP. he also had a great play in the 1st period where he knocked a puck down out of the air and managed to drag it around a defender for a backhand scoring chance all in one motion. This was the first game where I actually saw Kessel excelling at a lot of the stuff a center is supposed to do besides skate and shoot.
Goepfert did not look great, but it was his 5th game in 9 nights. The announcers said the St. Cloud game plan was to score 3 goals and let Goepfert win the game. They showed some clips of the game from Thurs night where Goepfert was awesome versus Minn-Dul. He saved ~ 38 of 39 shots. The Gopher plan was clearly to set up Potulny on cross ice one timers. I thought Goepfert was kind of slow getting over a few times. He isn't a classic technique goalie. He basically scrambled the whole game. He did an excellent job with rebound control. I won't read too much into one game, but with his lack of size and technique he probably isn't a potential starter at the NHL level.
I thought Goligoski looked very bad defensively last night. St. Cloud was very aggressive and closed off the time and space for Goligoski and all the Gophers. He fumbled a puck when pressured that led to his defensive partner making a bad pass right up the middle of the ice. He lost control of his man down low and allowed him to feed the puck from behind the goal line to the high slot for a one timer. By my estimation he was on the ice for at least 3 or 4 of the St. Cloud goals. On the other hand he did shoot the puck very accurately.
Jensen had a few assists but didn't seem to do much IMO. The Gophers were matching their checking line against his, so he was part of the top St. Cloud line. The announcers said he got off to a great start this season but suffered a knee injury and hasn't played nearly as well since then.
Sertich didn't do anything. I've seen him play ~ 20-25 times and never noticed him excelling in any phase of the game. He is an ECHL guy at best IMO.
FallenHero96 wrote:Hey ron, does this sound more like your take of the game, or mine? lol...... Draftnik you pretty much saw the same game I did, and we had many of the same observations. One I left out was faceoffs... you are right he did win the majority of his draws, including two important ones that I remember while on the PP in offensive zone.
Overall I had a favorable impression of Kessel. As far as why he was playing 3rd line, it's because he is a freshman, and he plays with 2 other freshman on his line. Keep that in mind... Kessel is only a freshman. Potulny looked awesome, but he is also a Senior. Kessel will continue to improve, and put up even bigger numbers next year.
FallenHero96 wrote:Keep that in mind... Kessel is only a freshman. Potulny looked awesome, but he is also a Senior. Kessel will continue to improve, and put up even bigger numbers next year.
Ron` wrote:So having a good team means he centers the third line? This is supposed to be the Number 1 or 2 pick in the draft. He should at least be on second line.
jmh70 wrote: It is a tough call: on one hand, he will surely improve; on the other, he has not done enough to warrant being selected first overall IMO.
Ron` wrote:I still am not impressed enough to use a top 3 Pens pick on this guy. His speed creates some oppurtunities. He still shines with the puck driving. Though I think he will be neutralized as a pro. I know he has a good shot, though it wasn't seen much tonight. I didn't see him moving to open ice in the zone to get that shot off either ala Hull. If anything he seemed to be too deep in the traffic, hence not many good shots.
Kessel got two assists tonight (out of 3) that were not in my opinion intentional setups. Plays where he appears to be shooting and the puck inadvertently ends up where someone else puts it in. The cross box PP pass for the assist was nice and crisp.
This team is loaded with draft picks. Overall I was disappointed in their passing last night. Maybe there is just too many individual effort players on the team. Other than the top line and the one PP with Kessel, there was little tic-tac-toe passing action. IMHO it was not a good game to scout. It often looked more like random chaos than organized hockey. Lots of hooking and taking people down. Kudos to both sides though for not giving up.
The biggest question I have is why is this guy playing third line center if he is projected as a top 5 scoring winger? Is this an effort to force him to make plays? Maybe playing at center is what makes him look semi-ordinary.
Game stats link
http://www.collegehockeystats.net/0506/ ... instc1.m17
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