Friday, August 31, 2007


Tony Romano in London

London, Ontario, to be precise.

Canoe has an article on the former Cornell Big Red forward and Devils' prospect Tony Romano. As indicated very early in the article (and in my subject), Romano has jumped from the ECAC to the OHL to play for the London Knights. The article discusses the reasons why he's made the switch, why he'll be a good fit for London, and about Aleksey Nikiforov, the trainer who's helped Romano a lot with his game since he was a youth.

However, while it's good to read an article about a prospect that has positive quotes about his talents - he's slick, he's a playmaker, he can dangle, et al. - but there is part of the article I want to highlight. Perhaps some insight as to why he's not really a highly touted prospect in the Devils' system:
"I very definitely looked at that before deciding to come here," he said. "The Knights had a similar style of play to mine. At Cornell, the style of play is very different, a lot of dump and chase, a lot of defence, a lot of systems, maybe too many systems.

"My coach says hockey is still a thinking man's game. It's like chess on ice. You need some structure and some systems, but you still have to be able to think for yourself. You have to be able to make decisions and create plays."
This is a telling sign. Now, to be fair, he recognizes the need for some systems - but this is telling. The article does go on to state that Romano wants to be in an environment where the main focus is hockey. While that is his preference and playing in a 68 game season for London may help his overall game. Hopefully it will change his perspective since pretty much most, if not all, of the teams in the NHL do focus on defense to a degree and have their own systems. Nobody is running free-wheeling hockey where the players have the creativity. Much less the New Jersey Devils, a team who has used defensive systems to thrive and succeed. Now, it is the off season and there's not much going on, but I wanted to point this out as a reason why Romano is a long-term prospect who is a bit of a risk - as suggested by Jared Ramsden's ratings at Hockey's Future. Yes, he's offensively gifted and he could definitely step it up in the OHL; but he should not be annointed to be a future Devil forward. If he's not interested about playing defense or getting in complex systems, he may not get a chance to get into the NHL much less the Devils unless he's incredibly talented.

To be fair, he's still young and he can change for sure. My intent is not to browbeat a young man looking to further his career. But given that this is from one of the more talented offensive players in the system, it speaks loudly about the Devils prospect depth. Because there really isn't anyone else right now - I want him to succeed. Therefore, I encourage him to pick up some defensive habits while lighting it up in London in the coming season. If he does, I would guess his chances of making the NHL will dramatically increase.

(Hat tip to the Devils message board at Hockey's Future, specifically Belizarius)

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the kid is a piece of crap hell never amount to anything and he def will never be devil material cut ur losses now. he is too flashy and plays 0 defense
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