directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: In spite of loss, Hitch sees positives

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In spite of loss, Hitch sees positives

Some interesting quotes from coach Ken Hitchcock this morning regarding Kris Russell:

"If you're not too caught up in the final score," Hitchcock said, "it was hard to watch this game and not get pretty excited."

Defenseman Kris Russell, 20, is making a big push to skip from junior hockey to the NHL.
Last night, Russell scored a goal and played 25 minutes, 37 seconds without a giveaway. At 5 feet 10, 167 pounds, Russell was the most dangerous player on the ice, especially when the Blue Jackets had a man advantage.

"(Russell) is just a good player," Hitchcock said. "I don't care (about his) height and weight, they just don't come around very often like that.

"The thing that everybody is worried about is how does he handle the traffic and the size. But because he has such excellent positioning, he handles it without a problem."

Hitchcock kept fighting the urge to gush, and he kept losing.

"His stick positioning is something that takes you years to teach. Age is irrelevant when you play with that kind of composure. Age goes right out the window."

..and he's right. Alot of people are afraid to say it because they don't want to saddle this kid with lofty expectations but many are quitely comparing this kid to Scott Niedermeyer. After last night's performance I can see why.

This kid is the real deal and has a skill set that can desperately help this team now. If there is any doubt in management's mind then let him start the year in AHL but if not, then I think they've got to play him --- this coming from a fan who thinks the majority of players who turn pro should start in the AHL regardless of skill sets.

Tell ya one thing - it was certainly a treat to watch Westcott and Russell work the points on the PP last night. It was even better to see Russell's patience with the puck and hit open wingers on the rush in full stride to gain that zone. Keep an eye on this kid everyone, the tide may finally be turning in Jacketland and Russell could be a huge wave.

Read more about the game last night here.


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