2014-2015 Retort Cards: Defense

Defenseperson Letter Grade Teacher says…every take a blog brings, an a-hole gets his wings.
Mark Borowiecki C+ If we’re gunna call Mark Stone a rookie, I guess it’s a rookie season for Boro too and that should be taken into account. He gets hated on a lot but sometimes I think that as a bottom pairing defenseman, part of your job is generally being disliked by fans. By sheer logic it follows that you’re the worst defenseman on the team. Who really is going to get behind that? Shouts to Christoph Schubert wherever you are. Anyway, for a 6th round pick rookie who makes very money little by NHL standards, he did okay. And by ‘did okay’ I mean he wasn’t great and it’s frustrating as hell at times to watch a player do his job when his job is basically taking a lot of penalties. I found I saw more good decision making and solid play when watching him in person. On TV, most of his camera time is him sitting in the box, spitting Gatorade through where his teeth should be.
Interesting that he managed to finish two points back of puck mover Patrick Wiercioch in only 7 more games played.
Room for improvement next season: Don’t take 2 penalties in one period in the playoffs, plz.
I am pretty confident his game can grow to the point that he’s not very noticeable outside of his physical game (a good thing). He sounds high AF when he laughs in interviews.
Jared Cowen A+ Just trying to build up my G’s trade value. Peter Chiarelli, if you’re reading this, Jared Cowen is like Erik Karlsson only faster, more skilled and better looking. He is like two Erik Karlssons.
Eric Gryba C I don’t know, fuck. Eric was a pleasant student to teach. Have a great summer shooting things.
Patrick Wiercioch C++ *gets pelted with scientific calculators* Listen nerds, I know this is your boy but I still ain’t going to pretend that I love every thing about his game yet. Does he carry the puck well? Yes. Does he have a deceptively good shot? Most def. Is he soft as a chinchilla to play against? Well, I haven’t seen a huge dude get strong armed that easily since Tom Jones was in court over a paternity suit. *bass guitar slide, audience howls at excellent 2015-friendly joke*
I believe in Wiercioch’s upside but you gotta here both sides on this season. I felt like it was clear why 2 different coaches had a hard time trusting him. Especially if you watch him in person. He drives possession fine but routinely does not effectively get in the way of attackers. I can’t ignore that after a promising first two seasons in the league this  overall was a down year for PW. As much as he was healthy scratched, he still played 3 more games than he did in ’13-14 and put up 10 fewer points. He was also dead last in blocked shots and hits for all defensemen, including Chris Phillips who played only 36 games. I don’t expect Wiercioch to be Chris Pronger but if he’s going to be the middle pairing defender we want him to be, he’ll need to do more than just “drive possession.”
He certainly turned it around in a noticeable way once he finally got a solid chance and finished strong with a great playoff round. If he can start playing that way he did in April from October on, his contract will be an absolute bargain next year at just 200K more than…
Chris Phillips D- At this point it’s hard to talk about Chris Phillips without feeling kind of mean. If you go back to the beginning of the season you can catch me shootin’ dice, praising Phillips for playing decently on the first pairing with Karlsson. Good times? Great times. All things must pass…to the point that I would take one solid or unnoticeable game from him as a gift. I guess it’s obvious now that at some point he suffered a chronic back injury but damn girl, his play fell off a cliff to the point that any discussion of him just immediately revolved around ways to trade him (LoLk, where/how?) or convince him to retire (Seat on the board of the Iris Street B.I.A?). So, you know, that…ain’t good. He broke Alfie’s record for games played as a Sen (#blessed?) and curiously sat the rest of the season after. As a fan, thanks 4 ur yrz of service and all but it is impossible for me to picture him helping the team should he return next season. To me, at this point, on the ice, there’s nothing he brings that Gryba or Borowiecki doesn’t (and for cheaper). Few people in the NHL are better prepared for retirement than the Big Rig. Huge question this off season is will he do it?
Cody Ceci A- Young Ceezy. Seemed like a bit of a quiet season I guess but I wonder if he came in too hot last season with his first NHL goal being an OT winner vs. -regular season only- powerhouse St. Louis .Maybe he got us all too expectant for moments like that. I try to keep in mind that he is only 21 years old *spit take* and has already earned a consistent assignment on the middle pairing. For a defender with offensive upside, 21 points may seem a little low but I try to remember that even Karlsson had 26 points in his first season.
Again if the points seem low it should be remembered that Ceci still finished 2nd among defenders in goals, assists, shots and handsomeness (you’ll never believe who came first). He was also first in blocked shots and just to melt your mind he  took only 6 minutes in penalties the whole season (zero in the post-season!). He had some shaky moments sure but, for a guy who hasn’t been 21 for 5 full months, he is progressing perfectly.
Marc Methot A Yo. Not since the Erik Karlsson incident of which we shall not speak has a player proved his worth to a team by being injured. Ima let the gawd Bryan Murray cook as the only person who doesn’t see the defense as the team’s biggest issue (who comes out of the current top 6 for that new guy tho, BM?) When Methot started the season on the IR and we were treated to a cavalcade of stars, Phillips/Cowen/Borowiecki getting paired with Golden Child Erik Karlsson, was it more evident how thin the left side is. As important as it was to sign Methot I have to admit my Memoires de Pascale Leclaire had me a bit shook at the idea of signing a player who was on the long term injured reserve. Luckily, once Methot jumped back into the line up full time, he was his old self: steady, hulking and very quick for his size. A bummer to hear he also finished the season hurt but kudos for it not showing in the slightest. Thrilled to have the guy signed. He took a bit of a discount to continue to play with one of the world’s best. I hear arguments that he’s a top 4 d man but to me, if you help Erik Karlsson to play better you’re a top guy. Seems to be emerging into a bit of a leader which is helpful should Phillips retire to focus on raising Curtis Lazar.
Erik Karlsson π Not. Known. For. His. Defensive. Game. Tho. Am. I. Right. ? I mean, maybe carrying/moving the puck out of the defensive zone more than anyone else on the team by a country mile counts as defensive play…I don’t know, who’s to say? Maybe you’re like me and watch pretty much every single game and find it clear he is easily the Sens best defensive player. Maybe criticizing a guy who plays half an hour a game and has the puck more than anyone turning it over or getting caught pinching a couple times a game is like blaming a goaltender for letting in two goals. Some reaching shit. Just a CONTROVERSIAL opinion of mine. ONLY TIME/NORRISESES WILL ABSOLVE MY JAZZY WAYS. It was good to see hockey experts panelists finally start acknowledging his play on both sides of the puck this year. Well, except for Steve Simmons who’s a fucking idiot. No seriously, he…does not seem like a very smart man. EK led all NHL defensemen in points and is up for the Norris again. Think of who he had to play with for half the season. Sink into that thought like it’s a nice hot bath. I feel lucky that I get to watch this guy play hockey.

2 thoughts on “2014-2015 Retort Cards: Defense

  1. Pingback: 2014-2015 Retort Cards: Forwards |

  2. Pingback: Re:Bort Cards: Goalers |

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