Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Slow Start for Swedes?

- Eric Duhatschek at the Globe and Mail has a piece out today about free agents and their slow adjustment to their new teams - mind you, we're three or four games in for most teams, so slow is probably relative, but I digress.

I don't want to be too sensitive about this - Duhatschek makes some good points about needing to find the right balance and how it takes a while for coaches to find out what works and what doesn't. And most of the teams he mentioned can't really be questioned - how well is Gomez doing with the Rangers? Zubrus with the Devils?

But what's interesting is that he includes among the slow starters our very own Michael Nylander. His reasoning is that Nylander was supposed to play with Ovechkin. That's why he was brought in, of course, right? Instead Kozlov (incidentally another free agent signing, which seems to be conveniently forgotten) is playing with the young superstar while Nylander is "trying to find a niche with fellow Swede Nicklas Backstrom."

That's one way to put it, I guess. Nylander has a goal and an assist through three games, Backstrom has two assists. Yes, they look like they're still adjusting.

It's just a little strange to base the failure or success of a player's start on a new team with who you thought they would play with. We all assumed that Nylander would be up with Ovie, but then anyone who watched training camp at all saw that Nylander and Semin had amazing chemistry, while Ovechkin and Kozlov have a history of playing together and seem to get better every night.

I guess we just have a different view of what constitutes a "slow start".

- Speaking of Kozlov, he's loving life right now. But we knew that already.


Chris & Sarah said...

I know that we Caps fans may be premature in our celebrations only 3 games into the season, but this guy takes the cake for making premature judgments. Not to mention the glaring omissions or mistakes in his analysis. How could you expect anyone to fit in with Jagr right off. It would have been interesting if they had signed Brier instead if Drury, and see how that would have worked out. At least you can see how well things are working out here in DC.

Jimmy Jazz said...

Tear the mainstream media to pieces. Hold on, let me get my tie-die shirt and LSD.
Seriously though, I'm tired of the AP, ESPN, and whoever else just being wrong about so many (seemingly simple) things.
This is why our blogosphere is the greatest. We have to keep these guys in line.

CapsChick said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was slightly put off by this article ;)

In all seriousness, this piece alone is a sign of how the Caps are starting to get a little respect - of all the snarky, inaccurate pieces filled with backhanded compliments, this one was fairly tame.

So naturally I had to rip it apart, just because I'm starting to get a little weirded out by all the positive coverage lately!

The Peerless said...

It might be of interest to note that Nylander and Kozlov have precisely the same average even-strength time on ice (13:07). These days, "lines" -- and a hierarchy attached to them -- seems a bit dated. Nylander and Kozlov both center scoring lines. And what might be more important is something suggested in Duhatschek's article -- pairs. That Ovechkin and Kozlov work well together is not surprising, but the pair to consider with respect to Nylander hasn't gotten much work yet, that being the Nylander-Semin pairing.

Nylander's "slow start" is perhaps more a function of not having a finisher on his line for his passing and stick work.

CapsChick said...

Damn you, Peerless, for being all logical and smart!! Totally agree.

...boy, it's tricky to rip the media apart when this is the worst thing they can say about us, right?