Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/27/13 at 10:36 AM ET
from Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press,
It's right there in black and white in the National Hockey League's coaches' handbook:
Don't gush too early and too much about rookies until the real bullets start flying.
And so it was late Thursday -- not long after the Boston Bruins' 3-2 overtime victory over the Winnipeg Jets -- when Claude Noel clamped down hard on his tongue while offering, then tempering, his praise of young defenceman Jacob Trouba.
"For a 19-year-old player I think he makes good decisions, he plays hard, he plays a lot of minutes and makes a lot of good decisions," said the Jets' boss. "There's some good stability in his game."
Asked if he had done enough to earn a spot as one of the team's top six defencemen, Noel added:
"That will be determined, but it's hard to believe... well, it's hard to say. For me, he looks good right now."
Actually, "good" doesn't begin to describe Trouba's play, particularly over the past two games. He was arguably the best of the Jets again Thursday -- goalie Ondrej Pavelec was pretty darn steady, too -- in racking up 23 minutes and 28 seconds of ice time and blocking two shots. There were some miscues, as he did finish minus-1 and was charged with two giveaways, but he played a lot of minutes in a variety of situations and looked comfortable.
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