Saturday, July 25, 2009

Scouting the Detroit Red Wings - Brian Rafalski

(AP Photo/Jay La Prete)

Mike Mouat of the Detroit Red Wings Examiner is taking a look at the Red Wings roster and is profiling each player on the roster. Yesterday he profiled Badger alum Brian Rafalski.

Rafalski had a pretty good year last year . . .
Rafalski established career highs in assists (49) and points (59) this past season and scored 34 points (6-28) in the final 42 games of the season, while playing fewer minutes per game (23:10) than he has in the past three seasons, proving that sometimes less is more. His 59 points tied him for the team lead among defenseman with Nicklas Lidstrom, and third in defenseman scoring in the NHL with Lidstrom and Scott Niedermayer of the Anaheim Ducks.

And a note to current Badgers: Not every shot needs to be a slapshot, there's something to be said for a good wrister . . .
He doesn't possess a hard shot and his scoring range is shorter than most defenseman and he compensates by moving deeper in to the offensive zone to shoot. Other teams need to be aware of this tendency or they risk leaving him uncovered in prime scoring range (see graphic at right). He most often scores
with a snap-shot or wrist shot as opposed to the slap shot.

Given that Rafalski has been invited to the US Olympic orientation camp, this seems as good a place as any to mention Red Wings GM Ken Holland's response to the NHLPA recommendation for NHL players not to participate in the on-ice portions of camp. Holland is also part of Team Canada's management staff.
"First off, these camps have gone on in the past," Holland said. Secondly, he said, if the players aren't on the ice at an orientation camp, they would at some other rink preparing for the start of NHL training camp in September.

"It's not like they stay off the ice," Holland said. "That's part of who they are. They love to be on the ice."
Makes sense to me . . .