mikey287 wrote:That's a much more valid concern. Sutter could use another thinker on his line. I think Brandon gets a little uncomfortable when he glances over and sees TK doing something "wrong"...it's just that TK has no hockey sense, so he gets by on work. Sutter gets by on hockey smarts, thus the 200 foot game that he plays every night is very cerebral. I think I can almost sense a little panic attack going on inside his head when he sees TK just "go". He could probably use a smart third-line right winger...so could 29 other teams...so, we'll have to figure something out...
The mental imagary of Sutter looking to his right, seeing TK 'go', rolling his eyes and going
is genius. He certainly is a very cerebral player, moreso than Staal but lacks Staal's thoroughbred frame. Boychuck made some smart plays with Geno IMO, some lovely little touch passes that less aware players would never see but he has an equal number of limitations to TK in a 3rd line role. Part of me wonders how much Vitale could do there, he seems to have some smarts but not enough skill to make it work.I think the solution lies outside the organisation but have never really considered who the 'smart' 3/4 liners are (apart from Mr Harvard ) Any suggestions? I'd be interested to hear who you think would work regardless of availability!
Good question. The first question that needs to be addressed is what kind of forecheck system do you employ? If it's aggressive, then speed, work ethic, determination become a high requirement. Weird...do we have any one on this team that works his ass off and nothing else? Oh that's right! 48. People wonder (well, they don't, they just complain) why TK has been less effective this year and there's lot of factors but one of them is: we aren't this forecheck machine anymore.
Pucks that are deemed "unwinnable" are not pursued like they used to be. Instead, we often set up in a 1-2-2 type of formation and then whatever happens, happens, because we aren't a disciplined, ahem, "trapping" team. A buzzword I don't much care for. Anyhow...so that leaves Kennedy in an awkward spot, that is: not skating at 100 MPH (don't look it up...it's like a 160 km/h or so
). There's a second chance to be useful though, and that's jumping passes and forcing turnovers...unfortunately, though, Kennedy is not smart. So he can't anticipate what passes are going to happen. So that's out...and honestly, at this point, he might as well just turn around and start backchecking and hope the puck starts going forward again.
So there's that. Now. In our hybrid system of "sometimes aggressive, other times not, and still other times something in between" it becomes difficult to find a player that fits that bill...you need speed and smarts...Pascal Dupuis has a good amount of both...needless to say, he's doing well for himself here. Cody Eakin, the player acquired by Dallas for Mike Ribeiro, is just a delight in this respect. Totally gets it, forecheck demon, backcheck extraordinaire, has some finishing skills. Jannik Hansen fits this mold...young Claude Giroux (before he got famous) fit this mold as we full well know from that playoff series, Darren Helm - from another playoff series we also know. Daniel Paille in Boston fits this description. Carl Hagelin is one of the fastest players in the NHL, he's pretty smart too.
Now, finding players like this that are available, well, that's another story...the Penguins probably didn't go hard after hockey sense because they were just gonna work the other team to death...now that the coaching is evolving and the system is evolving, you have a bunch of players without hockey sense that aren't fitting in all at the same time Engelland, Niskanen, Bortuzzo, Kennedy all don't have the slightest clue as to what could happen out there next...it will soon become a problem if it isn't there already...