June 3, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Dach and Slafkowski: Two Different Visions

Dach and Slafkowski: Two Different Visions

Kirby Dach and Juraj Slafkowski look alike. The former is 6’4″ and 212 pounds while the latter is 6’3″ and tips the scales at 238 pounds. Both are offensive players with above-average skills. However, we leave one of them alone with his physical play and express him offensively. Not another.

You guessed who it is. The Dutch, who have been placed on the right side of the Canadian’s first line with Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki, are hitting hard right now. Watching the team’s last two games against the Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks, my observation was unequivocal: this young man knows how to play hockey.

Thanks to his understanding of the game, Dach constantly manages to find open spaces and create possessions using his big stick. The chemistry with Caufield and Suzuki already seems to be established and the three youngsters are already giving us snippets of what Hobbs’ first line will look like over the next ten years.

But back to the original point. Dach, despite his imposing physique, was free to express his feelings. He’s not a physical player, even though he’s 6’4″. It’s not in his nature and, honestly, who cares. Martin St-Louis doesn’t express his talent and fill his head with instructions like: “Be physical and complete your checks” or “You stay in the defensive zone and Make sure not to cause turnovers in the neutral zone” .

Two weights, two measures

I wonder why in the Habs’ eyes, his first overall pick in the late draft, in this case Slafkowski, seems so important to be strong and physically involved.

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By wanting to teach him the “North American style”, we are forgetting that, like the Dutch, the Slovak winger has the skills…