Saturday, April 28, 2007

Zubrus New Role Suits Him

Dainius Zubrus added size for the Buffalo Sabres, and he hasn't been afraid to use it. Late in the second period in game two of the Sabres/Rangers series, Zubrus didn't shy away from a hit on Jaromir Jagr. Jagr saw the blur that was Zubrus looking to collide at center ice, and just barley side step the full brunt of the hit. But contact sent the Ranger forward flipping over as he left his feet to try and avoid the hit. Zubrus didn't score a goal, or have an assist, but was granted the second star of the game for that hit.

It's clear that Zubrus is thriving off of being a role player. He doesn't need to be a scorer or a set up guy, two aspects he felt pressured to produce in Washington playing with superstar Alex Ovechkin. He just needs to use his size, his puck handling skills are just bonus for the Sabres. Dainius registered 9 hits in the second game. Consider that Ranger tough guy Sean Avery only managing three hits.

With the 800 pound gorilla that is to produce goals and assists off of Zubrus' back, the former Capital has found success on using his size. At 6'4", 224 lbs., Dainius also has the hands of a goal scorer, which was evident against the Rangers again. His ability to keep the puck deep in the zone and maintain possession gave New York fits, and led to goals and scoring opportunities.

Even though there is talk of the Capitals resigning him this summer as he will be a unrestricted free agent, Zubrus is well on his way to not returning to Washington. He may be too valuable to give up. Being a role player is a part Zubrus is playing well.

No comments: