Friday, May 25, 2007

Not-Totally-Random Pothier Love

Since teams from opposing Conferences play each other only twice every three years nowadays, there's very little familiarity between the two Stanley Cup finalists (who didn't play during the regular season) and maybe even less familiarity for their respective fan bases with respect to their opponents. To ameliorate some of that, Earl from Battle of California and Ben from Sens Army are educating one another on their teams' strengths and weaknesses leading up to the start of the Finals on Monday.

Anyway, Earl had 10 questions which Ben has answered, including this:
9. Random question--but if you could have one former Senator back for this series (one who left within the last year or so), who would it be and why? I think I'm asking a "Chara or Havlat" question, but if you have another guy in mind that works too.

Chara and Havlat each have their niches, and my initial response was Chara – he’s such a presence on the ice. But we had them both last year and were beaten out in the second round, so I’m going to skip them and say Brian Pothier, he was a free agent who left last summer – he got 12 minutes a game with the Sens, and now playing in Washington he gets 20+ minutes per game. He was a gem with the right attitude that the Sens could put to good use today.
Sure, there are personnel reasons for the ice time disparity from last season to this one, but Potsy is often a whipping boy for Caps fans, so it's nice to see him get some love, especially from a fan of his former team. I've said it before and will again - in the right role (i.e. second defensive pairing), Pothier will be a perfect fit for this team. Maybe I'm not the only one who thinks so.


Marky Narc said...

I think Pothier gets a bad rap in these parts simply because his name isn't Zdeno Chara.

JP said...

I agree. It's a contextual thing - because of who the Caps have had here over the past couple of seasons (and who they may not have brought in), certain guys have been forced into roles for which they were ill-equiped. Pothier getting #1 D minutes is one example. Zubrus as a #1 center is another.

Once the team brings in a legit top-pairing D and Potsy is bumped down a spot, you'll see what he can do and my guess is he'll be a much, much more productive blueliner.

Plus, he's American. So he's got that going for him. Which is nice.


1) As has been pointed out here and elsewhere several times, Pothier was/isn't a bad defensemen when he's used correctly.
2) His contract dictated he be given top pairing minutes, where as he possesses the talent of a top 4-5 defender. If the Caps add a top flight free agent defensemen this summer fans will change their perception of Brian next season.

b.orr4 said...

Totally agree. Pothier was put in a position that was far beyond his job description. With the hopeful additon of a #1 defenseman, Pothier will be playing on the second pairing aginst the opposition's second and third lines. That's a spot where he should excel. Not all defenseman are born equal, but that doesn't mean Brian can't be a very solid contributor on this team. The comparison I like to make is to a defensive back in football. A cornerback may be overmatched against a Randy Moss type of receiver, but put him against the second or third receiver and he'll do just fine. Pothier has basically been covering the Randy Moss's of the NHL. Next season, he gets to defend the James Thrash caliber player. Let's see how he does.


1) The Senator-Ducks comparison blog was an excellent premise for a post. We have watched both teams all year and feel they are probably the two best clubs.
2) Even then it was illustrative to read what fans of each team think of their players/their roles, etc. Look forward to the Duck's response

Tyler said...

I think he played tremendously well here in DC. He's being paid 3-4 money and he played 1-2 minutes/lines/etc. Also: He was over-used in the first 40 games and he held up better and longer than any of us expected.

Jes GÅ‘lbez said...

Pothier over Havlat or Chara? Talk about a Bitter Betty. Pothier was completely overmatched in his role and should only ever be on the top defensive pairing on an AHL squad.

Yes, he's a solid citizen, but he's no Chara or Havlat...I wouldn't take 10 Pothiers for one of those other guys.

Plus, he's Amerikan, which he's got going against him.

Sherry said...

I think what Ben meant was that subtracting Chara and Havlat didn't hurt the Senators as much as people thought it would but keeping Pothier would have been a safer bet for the Senators. They could have easily signed Pothier for the money he was asking for, as that's about how much they spent on Joe Corvo, but couldn't guarantee him the minutes that he wanted to play.

JP said...

Jes is just trolling. No one in their right mind - Ben included - would assert that Pothier is a better hockey player than Z or Havlat.

Remember when Jes had something positive to say about a player who wasn't a Slovak, St. Louis Blue, Vancouver Canuck or Sidney Crosby? Me neither.

The Peerless said...

Pothier is another example of a problem the Caps have had since the 2003-2004 season -- too many guys playing to high in the pecking order for their skill set. A club cannot realistically have a Jeff Halpern as the top center cannot have a Brian Pothier leading his club in minutes.

Pothier would be fine getting Stve Eminger minutes (18 or so a game), not the almost-24 he did log.

Until that problem is settled by young guys rising into their roles (like Eminger, for example, if he was to stay), guys like Pothier are going to be lambasted unfarily.