Kovy, Neal IMO are worthless! Playing them on the higher lines is a smack in the face to the guys not dressing!!
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That said, I do think that the Kovalev and Niskanen experiments are over. I would like to see Tangradi in for Kovy and Engelland in for Niskanen. Kovy just doesn't appear to have the conditioning to be out on the ice for such long periods of time and Niskanen scares me to death with his passing.
1) He can't buy a goal. It seems like any chance he gets, the puck just won't calm down, or the goal tender makes some miraculous save.
2) He's always being swapped between two lines and four different centers/wingers. Without the stability of having solid #1 and #2 lines, he just cannot gain enough continuity. Remember the year the team won the cup and the kind of sixth sense that Crosby and Guerin had for passing to one another? I think Neal is capable of that, he just needs to be paired up with two solid line mates and be given some time to adjust.
Unfortunately, I think this is no more than a throw away season due to injuries.
One guy who has earned his pay in this series is Adams. If you pay attention, I guarantee you'll hear "blocked shot, Craig Adams" more times than you can count.
Neal will be better once Crosby comes back and he has something to work with. He's doing everything except for putting the puck in the net, but atleast he makes the effort (unlike some other players, who shall remain nameless), and that's all you can really ask for from a hockey player. If he does what he can and the goalie makes some crazy save, he can't help that.
As for Neal, I think he would kick all sorts of *** if he was paired with Crosby or Malkin.
Next year I would not mind seeing these lines:
#1: Kunitz/Neal - Crosby - Dupuis (if resigned)
#2: Kunitz/Neal - Malkin - Kennedy (if resigned)
Better yet, maybe see the team go after a true RW in the off season. That's probably this team's weakest spot, overall.
The biggest disappointment for me is MAF. Stahl (2nd biggest disappointment) finally does something and we tie the game at 2 and get some momentum. Less than a minute later he gives it all back to them. 2 goals on like 4 or 5 shots in the 3rd period of a game that could move us to the next round. He is supposed to be a star...well stars shine in those spots.
"When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself."
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