Sunday, October 16, 2016

Brady Austin vs Syracuse Crunch 10/16/2016 (Grade B)

Tonight started off very promising for the Amerks. It didn't last. Everything that followed their opening goal was sloppy and extremely disappointing. They took bad penalties and committed countless turnovers. For stretches the Amerks looked like a good team, and even the better team. Those stretches did not last long. Tonight I would say defensively Brady was the best of a bad bunch (a very bad bunch).

Early on Austin's ice time was very limited. Because the Amerks spent so much time on the power-play or on the kill he remained on the bench for quite a bit of the first period. Later in the game he received some time while the Amerks were shorthanded, but I was very surprised that he seemed to have no role in the special teams plans of the new coach early on.

Austin was very conservative in the offensive game tonight. He did not skate the puck out of the zone at all and was usually a bit late arriving to the point. He very rarely pinched up to keep the puck in and when he did he was beaten twice. The second time he was beaten bad and took a penalty for interference. He didn't even think of taking a shot tonight, however I think he passed the puck better than any of the other defenseman tonight. His breakout passes were measured, safe, and always to sticks.  My favorite part of his game tonight was that he didn't attempt any no look back passes that seamed to be a plague that spread through the roster like wildfire.

In the defensive zone Austin played an amazing game. He did a good job of making entry to the zone difficult with his active stick, and made more than a few very nice poke checks to turn the puck over. He was constantly mindful of forwards lurking in front of the net and always had a body on them. It seemed like he was out of position on the second goal for Syracuse but it was only because of a bad turnover by his linesman. Kasdorf probably should have let the puck run all the way through to Austin in the first place. He was also quick to shepherd forwards away from his keeper after the whistle. When the puck came behind the net Austin did a great job of locating the puck, stapling his man to to the boards, and separating him from the puck. Most times he was also able to quickly find a forward and execute a good break out pass.

Because he took two minor penalties tonight and was ultimately a non factor on the offensive side of the ice I can only give him a B. Brady Austin is every bit the blue collar hardened defensemen that the Amerks need more of. His physical play in front of and behind the net were a big reason why the Amerks were not pinned into their own end when he was on the ice. His deliberate, simple, and accurate passes are exactly what is needed going forward. At the end of the night the only thing that left me disappointed about Austin's performance was that I didn't get to see more.

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