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Member Since 18 Dec 2003
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Nyquist since Datsyuk's Return & Unnatural NHL Development

10 April 2014 - 12:17 AM

Is anyone else slightly concerned that Nyquist hasn't scored a goal since Datsyuk returned?


It's only been 4 games, and obviously every situation is different, and who knows what really goes on in these guys' heads, but I always wonder when a young guy comes up and plays great while stars are out of the lineup because oftentimes once the stars come back, it seems that they lose track of whatever it was that helped them play great. I don't know if they relax or start defaulting to playing a different style or if they just lose some confidence when they're not being looked to as "the guy" anymore, but something seems to happen that negatively affects some of these young players' performances when the veteran stars come back. 


Hopefully this isn't a trend with Nyquist, but this is the longest he's gone without a goal since January, and that was before he really heated up. I missed more than half of the game today as I accidentally fell asleep while trying to get rid of a headache, but I noticed that even with the 5 minute overtime, Nyquist's ice time was on the low side tonight; 14:44 when he's been averaging 16-19 minutes more often than not.  Has anyone noticed anything different about his play since Datsyuk returned? You'd think he'd get more room now with teams having to worry about Datsyuk again, but it's yet to translate to him putting the puck in the net.


If this is a legitimate issue for Nyquist and others that have and will come through our system, I wonder if the situation could be improved if some of these kids were worked into the system earlier and got more of a chance to develop in normal circumstances while our veteran stars and leaders are part of the lineup. I don't think it's natural or necessarily good for them to get their first taste of serious NHL ice time only when the team suffers from long-term injuries, especially when it's the team's leaders that are out of the lineup. If they come up and have that adrenaline rush of not only playing but getting a lot of ice time and some time in the spotlight as "the guy," only to have that role slip away as soon as someone comes back into the lineup, it's bound to affect them mentally.


Maybe the expectations get too inflated based on exceptional performance during a unique period of time. Then, once they're playing in a normal lineup again, they're busy trying to learn to play in a system that is different from when they had their initial moment to shine, thus likely not living up to expectations that are based on unique circumstances. On top of that, given how long we traditionally keep guys in GR, these kids are even more motivated to make a splash when they do get their moment, which again, might lead to a stream of brilliant play that they struggle to maintain once they start having to learn to deal with the typical pressures and grind of NHL hockey. 


The bottom line is that I don't think it's a fluke that guys like Nyquist score like they do, as I think it's obvious that some of these guys have a ton of potential. I am more concerned with whether it's really such a great idea to leave them to develop for so long in the minors as opposed to bringing them up and allowing them to adjust to the NHL and to the normal state of an NHL team in a more gradual manner. Then when they truly find their game and get something special going, it isn't something happening in an unusual circumstance before having time to adjust to other things NHLers need to adjust to.


In any event, at least as far as Nyquist is concerned, hopefully this is much ado about nothing and he gets it going again quick.