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#61 Raphael Diaz 2011-2012


Nine1One

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According to Bob Hartley on CKAC, he expects Diaz to make the Habs next year and to be a near-replica of Mark Streit. He claims, having seen him, that Diaz has a better offensive skill set with an accurate wrist shot but that he doesn't have the same physical strength as Streit. On the one hand, that's exciting that he can bring some offence, but if he's even weaker than Streit on the puck, that could be a big problem and I don't know that we can hide him on the back end. I also wonder if the team has the space to keep both he and Weber in the line-up. If both are meant to be PP specialists, do we really have room for two right-handed youngsters with defensive lacunes?

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According to Bob Hartley on CKAC, he expects Diaz to make the Habs next year and to be a near-replica of Mark Streit. He claims, having seen him, that Diaz has a better offensive skill set with an accurate wrist shot but that he doesn't have the same physical strength as Streit. On the one hand, that's exciting that he can bring some offence, but if he's even weaker than Streit on the puck, that could be a big problem and I don't know that we can hide him on the back end. I also wonder if the team has the space to keep both he and Weber in the line-up. If both are meant to be PP specialists, do we really have room for two right-handed youngsters with defensive lacunes?

If his assessment is accurate, then Wiz is definitely not in the picture IMO. Should be interesting to see if he supplants Webber and how we use him. Either way, a younger/cheaper Mark Streit sounds like a good problem to have. B)

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Interesting move. Unlike Streit, who I believe was almost 30 when we signed him, Diaz is still pretty young, at only 25 years old.

The "lack of physical strength" is a concern, although not all great defensmen are Chris Pronger Clones. His positioning will be key & if its solid then lack of size/physicality can be overcome.

I will agree with others though: to me this (along with the development of players like subban, webber and the rumored signing of Yemelin) is the writing on the wall for Wisniewski.

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I thought I read somewhere (RDS/TSN) that he was 5'11" 194LBS. Maybe he has muscled-up.

Lol yeah it's in the article link that's posted at the top. Someone is lying about the weight...If he's in the 180s he's going to get rocked in the NHL. If he's 194, he needs to put on another 7-10lbs of muscle.

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Lol yeah it's in the article link that's posted at the top. Someone is lying about the weight...If he's in the 180s he's going to get rocked in the NHL. If he's 194, he needs to put on another 7-10lbs of muscle.

:lol: Too bad his growing years may be behind him... at 6'2" and 205 LBS. he would be alright perhaps. Then again... if he is shifty, smart and mobile you never know eh ;)

He would still have to make the team and could end up in the AHL.

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Please stay fair, he is one of the main part of a swiss team which has beaten the USA at world champs (and . So when the habs give him some time to adapt he will make the team better. There are still a lot swiss players with the level to play in your league.

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First of all please change the "hometown" in the first post to "Zug", as he grew up here only 250 metres away from our old hockey temple. And telling a Zuger that he is from Zurich is about the same as telling a Habs that he is from Toronto...

I am following EV Zug for 20 yrs and thus invevitably also the development of Rafael Diaz. And I found a homestory in the club magazine dating back to 2004/2005 when he had established himself in the NLA team at 18 yrs old in his 2nd season.

I try to tanslate at best some facts that you might find interesting to know about your future player:

His father moved in the early 70's from Galicia in Spain to Switzerland. His mother is from nearby Lucerne.

And, as 99% of all kids with a Latino background in Switzerland, he was destined to become a soccer player. But living so close to the skating rink, he did his first skating tries at 3 yrs old. And at 5 he decided that Hockey is definitely more fun than soccer. And, as most young kids, he also decided that scoring goals is more fun than preventing them, so until age 16 he played center or right forward in junior teams. But his coach back then was in desperate need of a good defensemen for the U-20 team and saw in Rafael the perfect match: he worked hard defensevely, showed no fear when attacking bigger players, played aggressively at the boards, moved the puck fast and very clever in the offense with a good scoring instinct and a hard shot from the blue line.

Although he played in the Swiss U-20 team at the beginning still as forward, he won two U-20 League Championships in 2003 and 2004 as a defender...

And he was lucky that at around that time "professional Ice Hockey player" was acknowledged officially as a job and thus an apprenticeship and a sports military service for young talents were created. So unlike many other talents before, he never had to make the tough decicision between sport, army or job education. He could do all of them together like in top 6 hockey countries. And obviously he did a good job as the author of the text was comparing him already back then with the best defender ever of Zug origin: Sandro Bertaggia, who had won several championships with Lugano and played numerous games in the National team. Well, at that time Luca Sbisa was still a kid.. So enough for today - more later.

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First of all please change the "hometown" in the first post to "Zug", as he grew up here only 250 metres away from our old hockey temple. And telling a Zuger that he is from Zurich is about the same as telling a Habs that he is from Toronto...

I am following EV Zug for 20 yrs and thus invevitably also the development of Rafael Diaz. And I found a homestory in the club magazine dating back to 2004/2005 when he had established himself in the NLA team at 18 yrs old in his 2nd season.

I try to tanslate at best some facts that you might find interesting to know about your future player:

His father moved in the early 70's from Galicia in Spain to Switzerland. His mother is from nearby Lucerne.

And, as 99% of all kids with a Latino background in Switzerland, he was destined to become a soccer player. But living so close to the skating rink, he did his first skating tries at 3 yrs old. And at 5 he decided that Hockey is definitely more fun than soccer. And, as most young kids, he also decided that scoring goals is more fun than preventing them, so until age 16 he played center or right forward in junior teams. But his coach back then was in desperate need of a good defensemen for the U-20 team and saw in Rafael the perfect match: he worked hard defensevely, showed no fear when attacking bigger players, played aggressively at the boards, moved the puck fast and very clever in the offense with a good scoring instinct and a hard shot from the blue line.

Although he played in the Swiss U-20 team at the beginning still as forward, he won two U-20 League Championships in 2003 and 2004 as a defender...

And he was lucky that at around that time "professional Ice Hockey player" was acknowledged officially as a job and thus an apprenticeship and a sports military service for young talents were created. So unlike many other talents before, he never had to make the tough decicision between sport, army or job education. He could do all of them together like in top 6 hockey countries. And obviously he did a good job as the author of the text was comparing him already back then with the best defender ever of Zug origin: Sandro Bertaggia, who had won several championships with Lugano and played numerous games in the National team. Well, at that time Luca Sbisa was still a kid.. So enough for today - more later.

My information said he was born in Zurich. Also fan Favorite PK Subban who grew up a huge montreal fan is from toronto. Doesn't bother me

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My information said he was born in Zurich. Also fan Favorite PK Subban who grew up a huge montreal fan is from toronto. Doesn't bother me

Eurohockey says he was born in Baar, which is close to Zug. http://www.eurohockey.net/players/show_player.cgi?serial=49762

Not of the utmost importance at the moment, but still.

He looks like a promising player, and I can't wait to see how he can fit into our system!

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First of all please change the "hometown" in the first post to "Zug", as he grew up here only 250 metres away from our old hockey temple. And telling a Zuger that he is from Zurich is about the same as telling a Habs that he is from Toronto...

I am following EV Zug for 20 yrs and thus invevitably also the development of Rafael Diaz. And I found a homestory in the club magazine dating back to 2004/2005 when he had established himself in the NLA team at 18 yrs old in his 2nd season.

I try to tanslate at best some facts that you might find interesting to know about your future player:

His father moved in the early 70's from Galicia in Spain to Switzerland. His mother is from nearby Lucerne.

And, as 99% of all kids with a Latino background in Switzerland, he was destined to become a soccer player. But living so close to the skating rink, he did his first skating tries at 3 yrs old. And at 5 he decided that Hockey is definitely more fun than soccer. And, as most young kids, he also decided that scoring goals is more fun than preventing them, so until age 16 he played center or right forward in junior teams. But his coach back then was in desperate need of a good defensemen for the U-20 team and saw in Rafael the perfect match: he worked hard defensevely, showed no fear when attacking bigger players, played aggressively at the boards, moved the puck fast and very clever in the offense with a good scoring instinct and a hard shot from the blue line.

Although he played in the Swiss U-20 team at the beginning still as forward, he won two U-20 League Championships in 2003 and 2004 as a defender...

And he was lucky that at around that time "professional Ice Hockey player" was acknowledged officially as a job and thus an apprenticeship and a sports military service for young talents were created. So unlike many other talents before, he never had to make the tough decicision between sport, army or job education. He could do all of them together like in top 6 hockey countries. And obviously he did a good job as the author of the text was comparing him already back then with the best defender ever of Zug origin: Sandro Bertaggia, who had won several championships with Lugano and played numerous games in the National team. Well, at that time Luca Sbisa was still a kid.. So enough for today - more later.

well Galicia it´s inside Spain,but is 7 centuries older Kingdom than Spain.Galician´s culture

is 50 % celtic (folk music with pipes,gaelic names) and 50% a mix of goths-romans-and iberians.

So,it´s not exactly a very "latino background".Probably for the second name,Diaz,looks like.

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well Galicia it´s inside Spain,but is 7 centuries older Kingdom than Spain.Galician´s culture

is 50 % celtic (folk music with pipes,gaelic names) and 50% a mix of goths-romans-and iberians.

So,it´s not exactly a very "latino background".Probably for the second name,Diaz,looks like.

I can't believe a thread on the Montreal Canadiens has made a detour through Galicia, Espana.

I'm originally from Montreal, now residing in Ottawa, but I lived in Galicia when I was a young lad. Beautiful country, beautiful people.

For two years, my home was an apartment on Calle Colombia in La Coruna (near the futbol stadium)

I see your Oviedo FC Crest and it reminds of the old Deportivo logo.

From one Gallego to another, hola amigo.

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I can't believe a thread on the Montreal Canadiens has made a detour through Galicia, Espana.

I'm originally from Montreal, now residing in Ottawa, but I lived in Galicia when I was a young lad. Beautiful country, beautiful people.

For two years, my home was an apartment on Calle Colombia in La Coruna (near the futbol stadium)

I see your Oviedo FC Crest and it reminds of the old Deportivo logo.

From one Gallego to another, hola amigo.

well,I´m not "gallego",I´m from Asturias,Oviedo for more details,but it´s close to Galicia.

La Coruña is a wonderful city,no doubt,and great food.

yeah,it´s funny to meet you in a Habs forum,congratulate us for cheering the best hockey team in the world!

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well,I´m not "gallego",I´m from Asturias,Oviedo for more details,but it´s close to Galicia.

La Coruña is a wonderful city,no doubt,and great food.

Deportiv fall to the second division after 20 years in the first.Bud luck.

yeah,it´s funny to meet you in a Habs forum,congratulate us for cheering the best hockey team in the world!

Nice to meet you amiga !
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My information said he was born in Zurich. Also fan Favorite PK Subban who grew up a huge montreal fan is from toronto. Doesn't bother me

No worries - if your source of information should happen to be U.S. based, then we are even happy that Rafael is not from Stockholm, where generally all Swiss are coming from :)

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No worries - if your source of information should happen to be U.S. based, then we are even happy that Rafael is not from Stockholm, where generally all Swiss are coming from :)

haha it was wikipedia :P he might have grown up there and been born in zurich who knows?? i dont!

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So here some more about Rafael as promised:

His coach at that time also saw his potential: "He has got the talent, but he has to work and work and work really, really hard. Only then his way will eventually lead to the Senior National team". And the Head of the Junior hockey department added: "He works very seriously, always keeps focused on the reality and stays with both feet on the ground, despite having achieved quite a lot in a short time".

Rafael underlines this by not dreaming about winning championsships or even an NHL-career (this is light-years away..), but first becoming a solid professional player on NLA-level, as he knows how easily an injury could end all dreams...

How down to earth he is and how much he likes to play hockey might show this little story: A friend of mine used to play Streethockey (in Canada better known as Ball-Hockey) on NLA-level, which however is completly amateurish here and still played on school-back-yard concrete surfaces. The team suffered a lot of injuries and so Rafael, who had just finished Ice-Hockey Play-offs and was holiday ready, was asked to support the team to prevent relegation. Without hesitation he agreed to join, despite the danger of overmotived amateurs trying to hit him harder and thus risking a serious injury. Luckily he was just as fast on his feet as on skates and thus could avoid hard hits easily.

This attitude helped to reach his breakthrough season at NLA-level in 2006 and in the National team in 2008 (World Championsships in Quebec, best newcomer in the team). In 2009 he missed the home WC in Bern and Kloten due to a certain Yannik Weber who took the last spot... The team missed quarterfinals and in Vancouver 2010 Diaz proved that this omission back then was a mistake. In the meantime he had worked like a man possessed to eliminate his biggest weakness: slapshots from the blue line. The latest season with EVZ and now also this WC proved that he has managed to almost eliminate it.

More later....

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  • 2 weeks later...

This means that he has now become a perfect NLA defender = in the top 5 of the league.

Here he can use his agility, speed and cleverness at it's best by having optimized his style, which I call "defense by birds of prey" (as opposite to "defense by lumberjack"):

He is circling in the blue sky (i.e. near the blue line) always looking for the prey (i.e. the puck). When the prey is spotted, then its next 2-3 moves are swiftly calculated and anticipated and then the lethal strike is usually coming so precisely and fast that he is off with the prey before it will ever now what happened. This means that he has the puck before a forward can engage him, often resulting in an attacker checking himself into the boards instead of Rafael. And in case he gets engaged, he is limiting his stick work to an absolute minimum, counting on his cleverness and anticipation to get the puck with one or two quick moves. This makes defending look pretty easy and efficient, allowing him to lock more than 20 mins. of ice time per game.

But then this is on the bigger sized rinks and with either small and fast or big and slow forwards in the NLA. Both can be stopped with speed and an average body size. In the NHL he will have to stop also big and fast forwards, so it's inevitably for him to gain some size. That he is determined and working hard enough to get the necessary size is out of question. The only question remaining is how this will hamper his biggest asset: speed and agility. If he should manage to keep both at current level, you can really expect a next "Mark Streit". In case he shouldn't, then I am pretty sure he will return back here after a maximum of 2 yrs in AHL... All of this of course only if he should stay lucky enough to get spared from a major injury or illness.

And for Galicians and "associates" around here: Spain and especially Galicia is his favourite holiday destination, so he is understanding Spanish pretty well. But he admits that speaking for him is much more difficult, as he has always been living in Switzerland.

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First of all please change the "hometown" in the first post to "Zug", as he grew up here only 250 metres away from our old hockey temple. And telling a Zuger that he is from Zurich is about the same as telling a Habs that he is from Toronto...

I am following EV Zug for 20 yrs and thus invevitably also the development of Rafael Diaz. And I found a homestory in the club magazine dating back to 2004/2005 when he had established himself in the NLA team at 18 yrs old in his 2nd season.

I try to tanslate at best some facts that you might find interesting to know about your future player:

His father moved in the early 70's from Galicia in Spain to Switzerland. His mother is from nearby Lucerne.

And, as 99% of all kids with a Latino background in Switzerland, he was destined to become a soccer player. But living so close to the skating rink, he did his first skating tries at 3 yrs old. And at 5 he decided that Hockey is definitely more fun than soccer. And, as most young kids, he also decided that scoring goals is more fun than preventing them, so until age 16 he played center or right forward in junior teams. But his coach back then was in desperate need of a good defensemen for the U-20 team and saw in Rafael the perfect match: he worked hard defensevely, showed no fear when attacking bigger players, played aggressively at the boards, moved the puck fast and very clever in the offense with a good scoring instinct and a hard shot from the blue line.

Although he played in the Swiss U-20 team at the beginning still as forward, he won two U-20 League Championships in 2003 and 2004 as a defender...

And he was lucky that at around that time "professional Ice Hockey player" was acknowledged officially as a job and thus an apprenticeship and a sports military service for young talents were created. So unlike many other talents before, he never had to make the tough decicision between sport, army or job education. He could do all of them together like in top 6 hockey countries. And obviously he did a good job as the author of the text was comparing him already back then with the best defender ever of Zug origin: Sandro Bertaggia, who had won several championships with Lugano and played numerous games in the National team. Well, at that time Luca Sbisa was still a kid.. So enough for today - more later.

Thanks for the background,it certainly makes being a fan more enjoyable knowing the histories of their future prospects.

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Is Diaz related to Gretzky watching those hilights of his goals,this guy is something else,good signing what a talent.

Even taking into account the fact that goalies playing in the European leagues are not well-renouned, he's got some great skill. Definitely makes me excited.

He's going from one great CH to another. B)

frsvl, do you think we'll get some more new Swiss fans that follow him over to our team? That'd be really cool.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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