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Showing content with the highest reputation on 08/11/2019 in all areas

  1. My opinion: It is time. It is almost universally accepted that Larkin will eventually wear the C. The question in the past has been readiness. His youth may have a small bit to do with things, but more important, I think, was trying to avoid giving him too much too soon. And I think the Wings leadership did the right thing in easing him into team leadership while lowering the chances of his play suffering from having too much responsibility. Far better to give him the A for home games and let his play and leadership develop well than try to give him too much responsibility and have that also negatively affect his play/development. He is, without a doubt, the Wings’ best all-around player. Last year just further solidified that position. And while being the best player doesn’t always make you the best captain, I think Larkin’s strengths and leadership qualities make him an ideal captain. And it’s not like he’s in his 3rd year or anything. He’s a veteran that is coming into his prime. And he’s got younger players that he can help connect with as a veteran to be able to teach them how to be pros. What a champion work ethic looks like. I don’t see him as much a talking captain, but rather as a player that leads by example kind of captain, which is far better. I also think that HE thinks he is ready to take responsibility for this teams play and eventual ascent from the near-bottom to competitive. I guess the better questions are: Why NOT him? And why NOT now?
  2. The drama surrounding the future of Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen took another turn when he implied that he has asked to be traded during an interview with Finnish television outlet MTV Sports. According to a translation of the interview, Ristolainen said he wanted to keep the discussions with Sabres' management private. Ristolainen's future has been a question, especially as the Sabres have added an abundance of defensemen this offseason. "I cannot say anything other than the fact that on the 12th of September, I will be at one of the NHL team's training camps," he said. The headline of the MTV Sports article reads, "Ristolainen dissatisfied with situation with Buffalo Sabres – wants to move elsewhere." MTV Sports is the same news outlet that reported months ago that Ristolainen would not be back with the Sabres, though, the team would have to make a move for that to be the case. When he met with Buffalo reporters at the end of the season, Ristolainen seemed uncertain about whether he needs a change of scenery or wanted to remain with the Sabres. He is under contract for three more seasons with an annual cap hit of $5.4 million. "I haven't been able to help the team win," he told MTV Sports, according to the translation. "Recent seasons have been tough and I haven't been able to enjoy hockey." Ristolainen, 24, finished the season with an NHL-worst rating of minus-41, which isn’t necessarily an accurate representation of his overall performance, but is the second-worst mark by any player since the 2005 lockout and tied for the worst in franchise history. Ristolainen recorded 43 points (five goals, 38 assists) this season, the second-best mark of his career. But he continues to struggle with his decision-making and awareness, in one-on-one puck battles along the boards despite his size and strength, and with turning the puck over in his own zone. In a reference seemingly aimed at critics, he said, "Commentators may not know what players need to go through during the season." He said he has focused most of his offseason regimen on improving his speed. [Hidden Content]
  3. Looking over at the roster, and considering things like skill level, tenure, and long term viability, I'd have to agree that Larkin seems the obvious choice. Of course, guys like Abdelkader may have some say in the locker room and someone else's opinions like Mike Green, Danny DeKeyser, and even Valteri Filppula may hold some weight, but none of those guys check all the boxes like Larkin seems to. So yea, if Larkin feels he is ready for "The Mantle", I am sure Steve Yzerman would love to put that to rest and get on with building a contender.
  4. A couple things bother me here: "I haven't been able to help the team win".... he was quoted. Ok...it's called a rebuild, with a bunch of young players and still weeding out veterans who aren't in the long term plans. He is NOT the only one who 'couldn't help the team win'.....it's an entire process. So...is that cause for him to want to go elsewhere? Leave because things are tough right now and not wanting to be part of the solution? Also... The media HAS been speculating on whether he will be a long term Sabre or not. No secret. That's is what the media does...speculates, stir up stories...they need SOMETHING to write about. Does that REALLY bother Mr. Ristolainen? And so he finds the hockey "not enjoyable"...and he thinks maybe a change of scenery would help? Like to where? A bigger market with an even bigger microscope on him? Fact is, Buffalo has treated him as a #1 defenseman and frankly, he isn't that. Nice skillset, but probably a #3 or #4 second pairing guy at best on a deeper team. That's not on him that the Sabres dumped #1 responsibilities on him....they simply had no other options. Now the Sabres are slowly gaining other options, though none still stands out as a true #1 D yet. What IS on Ristolainen is his own play. I don't care what else is going on around him, basic decision making with the puck, playing SMART when it comes to checking and positioning, and helping with goal prevention by any means necessary are things he struggled with....and things that make a good NHL defenseman. I don't care where he goes...if he struggles with those things, he won't find the "hockey enjoyable" elsewhere either. Obviously, I don't have all the facts, don't know what the Sabre front office is thinking or what is truly in Risto's heart, but this sorta makes him sound a bit like a whiner.... "It's too tough...what are these other defensemen doing here.....I'm no having fun...we aren't winning....blah, blah, blah" I wouldn't want a guy who seems to fold under the bit of pressure that a market like Buffalo provides. Imagine if he played for markets like Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago.....he'd probably be a minus 85, and it wouldn't matter if his teammates were HOF skaters. Sheesh...get a grip, Risto. You are 24 on a young rebuilding team....just work on what you need to work on and let the FO do whatever the FO is going to do.
  5. Some good points. And see, that's the thing...we all know guys like Koivu and Parise are going to need time off due to some ailment or the other....that leaves the door open for someone to show what they can do. Unfortunately, in the past, guys haven't done enough to take over any positions they have been given the opportunity to lock down. Granted, that won't account for "misusing" a guy for whatever reasons at the moment, but still, young guys WILL get opportunities...just a matter of can they take the ball and run with it. As for Koivu, it hadn't occurred to me he may not even begin the season with the team due to something not being right with him. If that is the case, definitely opens up a C spot right from the gate. And I agree 100% Rask shouldn't be on the 4th line....but again, I just had no where else to put him. If he could just show something, anything that suggests he might be useful higher up, that would be wonderful. Defense pairings? Yea, I don't believe in "popcorn guys"...it is ridiculous. Would be cool to see the Wild have some sort of defensive rotation going if they are going to carry more than 6 defensemen. Worked pretty well in Tampa Bay. Yes, yes, entirely different team structures, but point being, TB had some lower tier defensemen they didn't want sitting around collecting dust...so they set up a three man rotation where one guy sat while the other two played. Kept everyone engaged, involved, and it really gave the team a sense of who or what they had for those bottom spots....helped them make decisions who to re-sign and hang onto THIS season. Wild could benefit from some such rotation, I believe. I am interested to see if you may be right on some waiver wire activity. Chances are, the players we see listed on the roster now are not the only ones from here to the beginning of the season...and some may not be on there at all.
  6. Those line charts seem reasonable, though as of today it's Tom Kurvers job to provide Boudreau's arsenel. I like Donato's game but don't see him as a starter. Given what has been invested in contracts, I see: Parise Staal Zuccarello Zucker Kunin (Koivu) Rask Donato Ek Fiala Foligno Sturm Hartman Suter Spurgeon Brodin Dumba Hunt Pateryn/Seeker Notes: 1. Not heard anyone say Koivu is ready. Kunin gets a shot till he is. 2. Greenway can play in Iowa where the coaches can convince him to keep two hands on his stick and skate lower to the ice and use his shoulders for position on the boards. 3. I'd want my No. 5-7 D corps to each play at least once a week. Paying a good locker room guy $1 million to eat popcorn and chart shots is stupid. 4. All that aside, at least one on that above list WILL be injured coming out of camp, so that leaves the door open for callups, with Mayhew and Soucy top of mind. 5. Finally, it is highly likely there will be a waiver wire tweak before the opener, maybe we lose or trade Pateryn for a veteran center. You don't pay Rask $4 million to center a couple of bangers like Foligno and Hartman.
  7. You can say it...it's the owner. He "feels" the team is only a "tweak" away from a Stanley Cup. Analytics say otherwise. He's more concerned that if he utters the dreaded "R" word, fans will stay away in droves, and he'll lose money. So he keeps up this false narrative of "We're just a tweak away" and throws silly money at an over the hill free agent to keep the sheeple buying season tickets. Sooner or later this strategy is going to backfire and the team is going to be saddled with aging vets that they can't get rid of and young players that aren't developing because they cant get ice time because all the ice time is going to the aging vets because they get paid more...
  8. Funny thing is, two years ago the Wild were in the top ten for franchise confidence...

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