Friday, October 1, 2010

2010-2011 Player Profiles: Brian Rafalski...

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 7 days until the Wings open the regular season. Get excited. Today's subject:

Brian Rafalski

2009-2010 Regular Season: 78 GP, 8-34-42, +/- 23, 26 PIM
2010 Playoffs: 12 GP, 3-8-11, +/- 4, 2 PIM

Season Highlight: Olympic Rafalski.
Season Lowlight: The turnover leading to the game-winning goal in Game 5 vs. San Jose.

Rafalski's high point of the season was pretty obviously during the Olympics. When he put on that Team USA jersey, he seemed to flourish and played the best hockey I've seen out of him. I think we'd all like to see a return to his Olympic form this season.

He's slated to start the season on the second pairing with Brad Stuart, and I'm excited about the idea. When I first read about it, I thought it was stupid, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. I know I've said it before, but the theory is that he's “the guy” on the second pairing and he'll step up the way he did when he was “the guy” on the Team USA blueline. The fact that he's already taken maintenance days and had his knee drained are somewhat concerning, but we're used to Rafalski dealing with old man injuries.

What he needs to do to make me smile: Show some of those flashes of brilliance we got to enjoy when he was America's hero.

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