FOR­MER NHL GM DOUG

The Hockey News - - BUZZ -

Rise­brough used to say, “In hockey, two plus two does not al­ways equal four.” He ob­served that cer­tain play­ers who ap­peared to have all of the com­po­nent re­quire­ments could never put ev­ery­thing to­gether, while other play­ers be­came much more ef­fec­tive than the sum of their parts. Matthew is an ex­am­ple of the lat­ter. His game has an “ex­tra” di­men­sion be­yond his over­all tal­ent level. He has the “X-fac­tor.” I re­mem­ber vividly the cham­pi­onship game at the 2016 Memo­rial Cup. The Rouyn-No­randa Huskies seemed to have the mo­men­tum over Matthew’s Lon­don Knights. But in sud­den-death over­time, Matthew was the dom­i­nant player on the ice, con­trol­ling the play and scor­ing the game-win­ning goal. Prior to join­ing the Knights, Matthew was the per­fect com­ple­ment to Aus­ton Matthews on the U.S. un­der-18 team: he was able to get the puck to Matthews; he sensed when Matthews was tir­ing and would carry the puck him­self; and when older play­ers on USHL teams were try­ing to rough up Matthews, Matthew ar­rived in a hurry – and in a foul mood – to stand up for his line­mate. Early in his NHL ca­reer, the Flames were strug­gling late in a game and looked fa­tigued. Matthew turned the game around. He stole the puck, drove to the net and com­peted for a re­bound. He drew a penalty and, even though he wasn’t in­volved in the power-play win­ner, he was a prime fac­tor in the vic­tory. I knew then that his NHL ca­reer was off and run­ning. Brady has not had the same high-pro­file op­por­tu­ni­ties as his older brother. He com­petes well in big sit­u­a­tions, but it re­mains to be seen whether he can re­spond in the same seize-the-mo­ment man­ner as Matthew. Not all good hockey play­ers have the X-fac­tor.

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