Friday, March 16, 2007

Zubrus Update: One Man's Perspective

Tom L. over at Sabre Rattling (a personal fave of mine, despite its subject matter), offers this assessment of former Cap Dainius Zubrus's play of late (Zubie scored his second goal in the past three games - and second since being traded - in last night's win over the Panthers):
Is anyone still complaining about having given up Jiri Novotny [and a first-round pick] for Danius Zubrus? If so, I’m personally revoking your hockey credentials. This guy is a horse. If anything he plays the game a little too cautious, but that said, he’s been our best fore-checker now for the past 5 games. When [Ales] Kotalik returns we’re going to have a much more physical team up front as we’ll have 2 guys who can tie up 2 guys along the boards and still win the puck. Zubrus has better vision than Al and softer hands.
Sounds like the Zubie we all knew and loved/tolerated/were frustrated by, doesn't it? But if Zubrus has softer hands than Kotalik, that must be the latter moonlighting as the blue robot in those Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Dodge ads.

7 comments:

Tom L said...

JP,

First off, thanks for the plug. Flattery will get you everywhere.

Second, softer hands in this case meant that he's a better passer than Kotalik. Al has many strengths (including his "mature oak trees for legs") but, his vision and passing skills are not numbered among them.

Zubrus has shown a lot of smarts in making short passes in the offensive zone to keep plays alive or spring guys to open ice. It's something we were missing from our lineup.

Ta,

JP said...

As long as you don't expect too much from him, he's a very solid player. He was asked to do more than he's really capable of here - centering the top line - and as a result some people expected him to be a top line center. He's not. Second- or third-line rightwing? That's right in his wheelhouse.

Tyler said...

Semin-Backstrom-Zubie has a nice ring to it.

That's some kinda irony: Zubie IS cautious, but he's terrif at digging out pucks along the boards.

Anonymous said...

AO has 10 games left... and is 9 goals away from 50 goals.

This sucks that it's now extremely unlikely that he will not duplicate his performance from a season ago...

So much for your post about him getting 50

Tom L said...

JP,

My expecatations are for him to fit into the Borg Collective that is the Sabres system. In my mind, we upgraded our 4th line center position over Novotny (who is a player that needs to be pushed to get the most from him... not a leader), if he's able to contribute more than 0.5 ppg I 'll be thrilled.

We needed someone who would bang bodies on occassion, be strong on the boards and provide some scoring depth in case of injury.

He's done that and more.

Ta,

Anonymous said...

Not watching Washington's games, and only viewing the game stats infrequently, my question is:

Where did Ovechkin go? Seems like maybe he depended on Zubrus a bit.

JP said...

Ovechkin lost linemate Zubrus to trade right after he lost linemate Clark to injury, so he's had to adjust to different centers and wingers.

That said, Ovechkin was averaging .54 goals and 1.16 points per game with Zubrus and .67 goals and 1.11 goals per game since the trade - I think he'll be just fine.