Tag Archives: Niklas Lidstrom

Subban’s Game Is Liberal, Not Conservative

Veteran broadcaster Jim Hughson, in talking about tonight’s Montreal-Detroit game, said,  “P.K. Subban could learn a lot from (Niklas) Lidstrom’s less-is-more style of play.”

Why should PK, back in the lineup after his three game “rest”, change his game and play more like Lidstrom?  No offense to Lidstrom of course, who has been the league’s best overall defenceman for some time now ( six Norris trophies, ten time All-Star), but PK needs to be PK, and not anyone else.

Hughson might as well have named any defenceman in the league and said they should play like Niklas Lidstrom, and it would be a pretty easy and generic statement. And maybe he should have added that Alex Ovechkin should be reined in and play more like Sidney Crosby. Or Bob Probert should have played like Steve Yzerman.

We all know the young fellow loves to freewheel, and it should never be taken away. A defenceman who can rush like Subban is a beautiful rarity and adds a fresh and powerful dimension to the offensive attack, especially on the power play. Dig up an old Bobby Orr video and watch how a rearguard can bring the puck out of his end and into enemy territory in a poetic way. No one said Orr should play more like the more conservative Doug Harvey.

PK sat for three games for other reasons – to correct rookie mistakes, and maybe to harness some off-ice habits. But to hold him back and be a less-is-more player would be like telling Babe Ruth to bunt more.

Defending The Defence

Are the Canadiens fairly set on defence?

Seems like it. Sort of.

The boys on the blueline – Andrei Markov, Hal Gill, Josh Gorges, PK Subban, Roman Hamrlik, Ryan O’Byrne, and Jaroslav Spacek, are a fine group indeed, as long as everyone remains healthy for most of the season.

We assume that Markov and Subban will provide the offensive thrust, and we expect Hal Gill, Jaroslav Spacek, and Josh Gorges to do their jobs in workmanlike fashion.

But we might want to ponder, when we’re sitting in our easy chairs smoking pipes and waiting for the dog to bring the paper, if Roman Hamrlik may have lost yet another step after slowing down considerably last year. How many times will the veteran, who plays with smarts, not speed, get burned by some speedy forward who smells the net not far away?

But we know of course that Jacques Martin will use him properly.

Ryan O’Byrne has yet to become the player he hasn’t become yet. This is not a puckhandler, not a rusher, doesn’t seem to be overly anxious to crush bones into powder, and is an ordinary skater. But he’s still quite young (26), has great size, (6’5, 234lbs) and although it’s been three years with 125 games under his belt, we still wait patiently. Maybe impatiently. We see a bright upside, but it doesn’t want to break out, like a chick stuck in an partial egg.

We could look at Stanley Cup champs from the past few years to see what their defence was made up of, and Montreal stacks up, but only if Subban has a Calder Cup kind of year and Markov is a Norris Trophy candidate.

Chicago, in winning the Cup last year, had two great D’s in Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, along with Brian Campbell, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Cam Barker.

Pittsburgh, winning two years ago, enjoyed Sergei Gonchar, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, and our own Hal Gill.

In 2007-08, Detroit had Niklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall, and Brett Lebda.

And in 2006-2007, Anaheim defencemen included Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin, and Sean O’Donnell.

All four teams, all Cup winners, had defencemen who were offensive threats – Keith and Seabrook, Gonchar, Lidstrom, Rafalski, and Niedermayer, followed by a cast who did jobs that put lovely smiles on their coaches’ faces.

Montreal, possibly, has the same sort of army. Markov and Subban provide the punch in enemy territory along with Spacek. And Gill, Gorges, Hamrlik and O’Byrne play a tough, no-nonsense game, although as mentioned, O’Byrne could step it up a little. Maybe fight more. Put the big hurt on. Make the enemy say ouch.

On paper the blueliners look fine enough. But it’s injuries that put players on the sidelines for months on end that spell disaster. It’s also taking into consideration that PK Subban will be a regular and blossom into a star as well.

It seems the defence is in good shape. Just don’t put Hamrlik out against too many speedsters, and maybe show Ryan O’Byrne old clips of Larry Robinson taking care of business.

I Sort Of Won Rookie Of The Year Last Night At The NHL Awards Show

If the NHL Awards show wants to become more of a flashy and polished affair, they might want to think about replacing host Ron McLean. For as much as he’s a quick-witted and able sidekick to Don Cherry on Coach’s Corner, he comes across on these glittering nights as a bit of a hick. Really hokey. With lame jokes like the Brian Burke bobbing head doll and the cell phone thing. He’s not too funny at all. Maybe he’s overrated?
Gary Bettman looked embarrassed and I felt embarrassed.

Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one in the world who feels like this.

On the brighter side, there sure were a lot of good looking wives there. It seems that hot women like millionaire athletes! Go figure.

Washington’s Bruce Boudreau beat out Guy Carbonneau and Mike Babcock to win the Adams trophy for coach of the year. For me it could’ve gone either way between him and Carbonneau so this is okay.

Alex Ovechkin won both the Hart for league MVP and the Lester B. Pearson for top player as voted by his peers. This is fine, but my question is, who dresses this guy? He looked so out of sorts with his silly red tie and weird collared shirt that I wondered if he just got off the Red Eye from Moscow.

Niklas Lidstrom took home his sixth Norris for best defenseman. His wife is also right up there for Best Wife.

Gordie Howe was honoured with the very first Lifetime Achievement Award. This is good, but I’m wondering if you have to be alive to win this. Because the Rocket deserves one too. But the Rocket has the Rocket Richard Trophy named for him for most goals in a season, and that’s better than a Lifetime Achievement award in my book.

Last but not least, Patrick Kane beat out Jonathan Toews and Nicklas Backstrom for Rookie of the Year (Calder trophy). I’m happy about this because my name is Dennis Patrick Kane.