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E.L.M.M. : Kendall Hinton Deserves Some Credit and Cole Caufield Deserves Some Slack

Before getting into anything this morning, I just wanted to send some well wishes to Romain Grosjean. The F1 driver managed to walkaway relatively unharmed from what is easily the worst crash of the season and probably in recent memory. If you have not seen the video, just know that he has since posted a video with burns to his hands and ankles but other than that he is in good spirits. The fact that Grosjean’s car hit the barrier at 200+ km/h speeds, splitting the car in two, with his half bursting in flames and he was able to walk away is a huge testament to F1’s HALO system.

Lightening the mood a little bit, let’s shift things over to the Broncos game against the Saints. I really just wanted to take an opportunity to relish in the fact that we got to witness a NFL game with neither team starting a natural Quarterback at the position. Hinton vs Hill is the stuff that Disney movies are made of, and this game managed to exceed expectations because Hinton had a completion. The Broncos offense is not the most potent in the NFL to begin with, but they have a lot of young promising talent. This however, does nothing for a Practice Squad Wide Receiver who is playing QB with roughly a days notice.

I, like most of the guys here at Hot Sauce, play Flag Football here in Montreal. In my Flag Football career I have one game played at QB, and it is nothing to brag about. Quite the opposite as a matter of fact, with five interceptions and three sacks. However! In my defense, like Hinton I found out last minute (literally in the huddle, on the first play) and the team we played against was pretty good (eventual Champs, I checked). Peeze and Terry have a larger sample size than me at QB with only moderately better results, so I think we are all in the same boat here. I would like to take this moment to point out that my only two sacks of my career came in back to back plays against Terry at QB.

Back to Hinton though. Considering the minor upgrade in talent between the two leagues, Hinton’s completion gives hope to all Beer leaguers that anything is possible. He deserves some credit for going out there and not holding back, he tried going downfield and throwing on the run, but he’s not a NFL QB. There’s a reason there are only 32 starting jobs in the world and usually half suck. Maybe the Broncos should give Brandon McManus a shot next time.

Finally, for some of the Habs fans out there, take a deep breath. After Caufield was praised with accolades for 6 points in a week, RDS decided to broadcast Wisconsin games. TSN originally had the feed in their digital bonus platform but it would seem that the Montreal fan-base forced his games onto TV. If we are being honest, Caufield had a meh weekend, he flashed some absolute brilliance, while also having a few of his weaknesses exposed.

First the good, his game has evolved from a purely a finisher. He has become a much more complete player, spending more time with the puck on his stick, rather than manoeuvring through the open space to get open for a shot. His skating has gotten much better, his top end speed has improved, but more importantly he is able to maintain an elevated pace of play for longer periods of time. My favourite improvement to see was his strength on the puck and on his feet overall. Caufield is not, nor will he ever be a physical player, but at a younger age he was able to get around opposing defender because he has great hands in tight. This is something he can still do, but he is much better an fighting off opposing defenders and standing his ground. Case and Point:

As for the bad, he didn’t produce as advertised which drew the criticism of many fans. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but these people are usually the ones who think athletes are robots. Caufield had a rough night in his own zone which has been his achilles this season (more so his line as a whole). I would have also liked to have seen him use his goal scoring ability to create openings for teammates. Caufield is a shooter and the best offensive player on his team which is why defenders (conscious or unconsciously) tend to attack him and take away his shooting lane.

As an example, at the end of the Second Period Caufield walked out of the corner and completely dragged the defender in front of the net out of position. At the same time his teammate (24, Kehrer) pinched and slid into the Slot undetected for a wide open shot. Caufield ended up taking a Sharp angle shot missing the net instead of giving his teammate a chance at a backdoor one-timer.

Missed opportunity for sure, but there is a lot more to take into considerations when looking back on this two game mini-series. For starters, Arizona State is good. Not a traditional hockey school, but ASU has invested a lot of money and resources into all of their sports programs in recent years. Second, if the rest of the NCAA was playing, Wisconsin likely would not have been ranked 14 compared to ASU’s No Ranking. The Badgers have benefited from a degree of recency bias, and a bit of overcompensation from the voting panel after a couple dominating wins without Dylan Holloway (with Team Canada).

The Badgers were also missing a number of players all weekend due to COVID. The team was down to 9 natural forwards with a few depth defenseman suiting up for numbers. Finally, for the fans that need to hear this, the NCAA is a significantly better league than the QMJHL. There is an obvious age factor to this, but overall the NCAA is better in every way. Trying to compare what Caufield is doing with Wisconsin versus what he would or could do in the Q is foolish.

While it was certainly not the debut on RDS that Habs fans nor Caufield himself were hoping for, there is nothing to be upset about. Hoping for more out of our highly anticipated prospect is fair, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He probably won’t see the NHL this season outside of maybe a stint in the playoffs so give him time to develop. It’s like the Price haters needed a new target and this was an easy, lazy means to an end.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce content! We continue with the hockey trend by bringing on Scott Matla, Senior Writer at Habs Eye on the Prize and Co-Host of the Locked on Habs podcast! Check out our latest episode of the Podcast as Peeze, Terry and Eagle talk Maradona, NFL and NBA!

This week on Weekly Sauce! Alex the Intern, Terry sit down with Jack Gotsell from Tarps Off Hockey to talk ‘Bama Football, Habs/Bruins rivalry and drunk athletes. Tune in to find out which Habs player Terry bumped into during a night out on the town!

Don’t forget to take advantage of our Promo Codes by visiting with Promo Code HotSauce10 to get 10% orders on all individual bottles as well as and use HotSauce25 to get $25 off the entire site.

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