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In defence of Erik Cole
TSN 690 and MitchMelnick.com
Quickie blog prior to Leafs - Habs to point something out in response to growing number of fans/media who think Erik Cole is on his last legs, 10 months removed from a 35 goal season. I remember discussing the same subject early last season as a number of NHL watchers including media, fans and former players wondered where his speed had gone. Some of us tried to point out that Cole traditionally starts slowly.
Montreal - February 9, 2013 - Quickie blog prior to Leafs - Habs to point something out in response to growing number of fans/media who think Erik Cole is on his last legs, 10 months removed from a 35 goal season.
It's clear the Desharnais - Cole - Pacioretty line has not yet clicked, especially 5 on 5. That the Canadiens are off to a 6-3-1 start without much input from one of NHL's top lines of a season ago tells you all you need to know about the depth of the 2013 edition of the Habs. There is much to like through 10 games. In fact, outside of the waiting game on 51-72-67, the only area of genuine concern I see is in the face off circle, where the Habs sit in 26th place at 47.1%. They could not even win a majority of draws in Buffalo against a Sabres team that is actually 30th in the NHL at 42.5%.
But back to Cole. I remember discussing the same subject early last season as a number of NHL watchers including media, fans and former players wondered where his speed had gone. Some of us tried to point out that Cole traditionally starts slowly. It didn't matter that the Canadiens had signed him to a rich new contract, head coach Jacques Martin, apparently unaware of anything in Cole's past except his power play production the year before (three goals - completely ignoring the fact that Cole's net presence created openings for some of Carolina's top offensive players including Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu, Jussi Jokinen and Cory Stillman) used his slow start to replace a man who was signed to help the offense with Mathieu Darche - perhaps the single most idiotic move in a season full of idiocy.
Now here we are again. A year later. A much better team with a much better vibe. Yet just 10 games in, some concern for Cole persists. So I decided to redo some research.
•2011-2012: In his first 15 games Cole scored 3 goals.
•2010-2011: In his first 13 games Cole scored 3 goals.
•2009-2010: In his first 17 games Cole scored 3 goals.
•2008-2009: In his first 18 games Cole scored 3 goals.
•2007-2008: In his first 21 games Cole scored 4 goals.
•2006-2007: In his fist 11 games Coe scored 1 goal.
•2005-2006: In his first 11 games Cole scored 4 goals.
In his first 10 games this season Cole has scored 2 goals. Additionally, while he has yet to actually score a power play goal (his game winner Super Bowl Sunday vs Ottawa came three seconds after a PP had expired), how often have you seen him on the ice, stick raised, after a PP goal has gone in? The Habs have scored 13 power play goals this season. Cole has been on the ice - in front of the net - for six of them.
Put a hold on the retirement party.
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