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Quote-ucopia: Scouting Tavares, shaming Avery, and blinking

Doing a slightly different version of a links dump today, as I came across several interesting quotes over the last 24 hours. And sometimes I'm not into the whole brevity thing...

Michael 'Tavares' Ryder

#73 / Right Wing / Boston Bruins



Mar 31, 1980

"I'm John Tavares?! Cool!"

So who is this Red Line guy who dares rate Tavares #3, anyway? B.D. lands a Q&A with Kyle Woodlief on what the scout is thinking. It's an interesting read. Honestly, I have no dog in this hunt -- get us the best player, please, and wake me when he's wearing an Isles jersey -- but I can't help feeling a little suspicious of the scout's reasoning:

"[Tavares] is the real deal...just a lesser extent than Crosby, Malkin, or Ovechkin. He'll do what is expected and score goals.

We all know that in the game of hockey there are guys in hockey that are 30-40 goals guys. Or a soft 30-40....Michael Ryder who scores goals. But doesn't do a whole lot else to help the club. I'd rather have a Milan Lucic that score 17 that does more on the ice."

Fair enough. But curious references. The distance between Crosby/Malkin/Ovechkin -- who I don't sense Isles fans expect to be matched by Tavares -- and Michael Ryder is gargantuan, and Lucic (2nd round, 50th, 2006), for all his qualities, is not what you target with a first-overall pick, because you're looking for world-class skills.

I like the concern about whether Tavares is ideally suited to be a center at the NHL level, though.

Still, there sounds like a lot of tea-leave interpretation of Tavares' heart and "compete" level in the scout's explanations, and undervaluation of pure sniper skills. Some fans have thought of Mike Bossy's pre-draft knocks all along; now suddenly I'm seeing the similarities. In the end, they're teenagers, and we're damned if we do...

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Another Young Islander's Pro Debut

On that note, one of Tavares' frequent OHL opponents, Islanders overage junior pick Justin DiBenedetto, certainly is impressed. Chris Botta caught up with him after his pro debut in Bridgeport's playoffs. The former Stamkos linemate was driven to prove doubters wrong, is stuck without a roommate, and is grateful to the Islanders for keeping up with his development so closely (something we touched on here last week):

"No matter when I was drafted, the Islanders were the team that gave me the chance. It was also the Islanders organization that sent coaches and scouts regularly to Sarnia to pay close attention to me, Kats and Matt Martin. This is a very good situation for me."

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Bench Avery?

A Ranger fan suggesting the Short Island Smurfs bench Sean Avery? It's true! Jrs at Blueshirt Banter takes the plunge, and the debate in comments perfectly encapsulates the dilemma that comes with Faust-ing yourself up with the league's most self-centered circus act:

Everyone talks about the fine line Avery has to walk, knowing what he can and can't get away with. Last night he crossed that line, doing it at the worst possible time. His "antics" and I hate using that term, but it's the best way to describe it, [Sunday] were inexcusable.

Again, good stuff in comments there, from several Rangers bloggers and others. A measured, fun debate among Rangers fans after a playoff loss? Why, maybe Middle East peace is possible.

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'Mikko Doesn't Blink'

Mikko Koivu

#9 / Center / Minnesota Wild



Mar 12, 1983


"I don't even get dust in my eye."

Deposed Wild GM Doug Risebrough, in a thorough post-firing-relieving press conference, discussed the evolution of Mikko Koivu. I found this bit fascinating, as -- while somewhat hyperbolic -- it points to the last incalculable difference-maker in a salary capped world. All things being equal, who wants it more?

"I think Koivu is an entity. I think he is the guy, when you look at the way the games played – you watch the playoffs today they’re battles, they’re wars. You gotta look guys in the eye and you can’t blink. Mikko doesn’t blink.

"I remember telling him once when a couple years ago he was just starting out on the voyage of trying to figure out how good of player he was. We played in Edmonton and they all went after him. Physically. And he was pushing back and arguing with them because he’s a competitor.

"And I said to him afterwards ‘You know why they’re doing that?’ and he said ‘no.’ And  I said ‘Because they’re afraid of you; that’s why they’re doing that. They’re afraid of what you can do and they’re trying to discourage you.’"

As the young Islanders continue their growth, which ones will we discover "don't blink" when the chips fall? I got Kyle Okposo down for one. Who else?