posted at 2/13/2013 8:49 AM EST
Wait a minute. You guys aren't seeing what he's doing right. Try counting how many times he breaks up plays on his forecheck. I rarely see anyone do that - ever. Yet he manages to do that a couple of times a game at least. This is WAY under rated. It takes away offense time from the other time, it gives the Bruins another opportunity on offense. It's huge. IT'S HUGE.
Second, he needs an adjustment period. I was going to mention that I felt he was trying to mesmerize guys too much with his stickhandling - which is very good, but it seemed that he wanted to beat guys such that he left them flatfooted and would go in from there, you know, turn them inside out and walk in. Maybe he can do that, he probably has the skills, but he's not using his speed. I think this is what Matts is noticing because it's full speed and then slows up in front of the d as he attempts puck magic. He should focus more on just blowing past guys, he's the type who could just bounce it off the wall and win the foot race. Maybe it's psychological as he clearly isn't afraid to get into traffic and he doesn't want to be known as a perimeter type of player. ---> The reason I didn't mention it is because the last couple of games he seems to be adjusting to it.
Boston1646 has picked up on this, but is interpreting this as 'forcing' his play.
I am very strong in my opinion that he's finding his game at an elite level. His job was simpler in the past and now he has more to do, there's more decision making.
I don't think 'this will pass' - I think we're seeing a learning experience.
Where I see this will all lead;
1) he will be a consistent 30 goal scorer (or in the neighborhood), and this will be misleading as his forechecking really does change the game.
2) we will see him jump to the next level.
OK, you might say I'm full of beans and hot air, but focus on him more on that forecheck and you will see what I mean. It's not a 'game changer' type of thing so it's not obvious, what it is a 'game contoller' type of thing which is not so obvious, but it is actually better. He either gives them another offensive opportunity or disrupts their breakout. This is enormous and being overlooked.