Hey, kids, guess what? Hockey's almost here. That means it's time for me to get back into this whole blogging thing that I've neglected during the off-season. Since I lack the creativity to come up with a new gimmick, I decided to continue the Player Profiles series I did last year leading up to the season. I'll be taking a look at a different player (almost) every day between now and when hockey starts. By my count, there are 4 days until the Wings open the regular season. Get excited. Today's subject:
2009-2010 Regular Season: 82 GP, 4-16-20, +/- -12, 22 PIM
2010 Playoffs: 12 GP, 2-4-6, +/- 6, 8 PIM
Season Highlight: The numerous goal line saves he made.
Season Lowlight: His -12 was pretty ugly.
Looking through the posts I wrote last year that mentioned Brad Stuart, almost every single one of them was in reference to a puck he scooped off of the goal line and cleared out of the crease, thus saving a sure goal. I think there was also one about a catastrophic turnover that led to a goal against. I'm not sure what any of that has to do with anything else, but I feel like it kind of sums things up.
This season, he's paired up with Brian Rafalski and I like the move a lot. I've already talked about that, though, so I won't bore you again. With Rafalski by his side and a healthier team all around, I don't see any reason why Stuart's numbers shouldn't improve, especially his +/-. I think he'll be a nice counter to Rafalski's more skilled game. As much fun as it was seeing him and Kronwall together on the more physical second defensive pairing, Mike Babcock's a smart man and I think we're going to see a good season from the defense all around (provided they look more interested in playing hockey than they did during the last pre-season game).
What he needs to do to make me smile: Make smart defensive plays.