by Patrick Hoffman on 12/18/10 at 09:36 PM ET
When you have a second year 20-year-old defenseman who has a lot of talent and potential, you have to take the good and the bad.
That is what the New York Rangers are doing when it comes to defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who was a -3 in this afternoon’s 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
He continues to be victimized in his own zone, he gives up the puck and defensively, he seems to find himself out of position more often than not. In today’s game against the Flyers, all of these weaknesses were present and it hurt the Blueshirts as they were beat by the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Obviously, the game was not all his fault as his teammates could not bail him out when he made a mistake. Hockey is a team game and more often than not, one cannot pin a loss on a specific individual.
With that said, it is clear that Del Zotto needs to improve his game on the defensive side of the puck. Offensively, Del Zotto has a great vision, a terrific shot and a great first pass out of the zone. It was these strengths that helped the Rangers’ decide to draft him in the first round of the 2008 NHL draft.
Folks, it’s easy to say that Blueshirt fans are impatient and with good reason as they expect success from everyone. However, the team and its fans need to continue to give Del Zotto time to grow and become the defenseman that he is suppossed to be.
Easier said than done, eh?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.