Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Twig on 09/30/10 at 01:46 PM ET
As Paul has already mentioned, Michael Nylander has been loaned to the Rochester Americans, the top affiliate of the Florida Panthers. I won’t go into details about the deal because that’s been covered already and that kind of talk bores me to tears.
I wanted to talk about what I noticed last year when Nylander played for the Griffins. I was at a game between the Griffins and Aeros and was pretty excited to see what Nylander could do against minor league opponents. He was great. No one on Houston could touch him. On one power play, he got the puck along the boards and had two defenders try to trap him. He never lost control of the puck, but the Griffins never even came close to scoring.
Because no one moved around to get open. The two remaining Houston defenders cut off the passing lanes and the other four Grand Rapids players stood in place watching Nylander. I’m all for having former NHL caliber players in the minors if they still want to play (though Nylander isn’t exactly there by choice), but when the rest of the team just stops playing hockey because they expect him to win games for them, it hurts everyone. That kind of “effort” won’t fly at the NHL level, either.
Rochester had a good team last year. Not a great team, but a good team. I’m going to keep a close eye on them to see if adding a former NHL star player will help or hurt them. Predictions?
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