"When Eric [Fehr] is going to the net with reckless abandon, then he's really good.... When he plays on the perimeter and just hopes his shots go in, he's not as effective." - Bruce Boudreau, 11/28
Needless to say, Gabby's right. In fact, not one of the half-dozen goals Fehr has scored this season have come from anywhere near the perimeter. Take a look:
- WSH #16 FEHR(1), Snap, Off. Zone, 18 ft. (video)
- WSH #16 FEHR(2), Backhand, Off. Zone, 13 ft. (video)
- WSH #16 FEHR(3), Snap, Off. Zone, 23 ft. (video)
- WSH #16 FEHR(4), Wrist, Off. Zone, 23 ft. (video)
- WSH #16 FEHR(5), Tip-In, Off. Zone, 19 ft. (video)
- WSH #16 FEHR(6), Backhand, Off. Zone, 11 ft. (video)
Six goals, the distances for which you could lay end to end and barely make it from the end boards to center ice (and that's even with the spotty NHL measuring system in place); Fehr is showing glimpses of exactly what Caps fans had hoped he could eventually become. And perhaps it's no coincidence that Fehr's development as a get-to-the-net forward overlaps Mike Knuble's time in Washington. After all, back in July, we noted that one of the key attributes that the veteran winger brought with him from Philly was a net presence and that "[i]t's hard to think of a better player for guys like Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr to emulate."
Whether or not Fehr's recent surge is The Knuble Effect in action (alternatively, maybe it's the radio gig), the winger seems to be on track for the best season of his career in a campaign that is most certainly make-or-break for him in the Capitals organization. Once again, Fehr is making the most of his ice time and responding well to increased minutes, firing ten shots on goal in his last three games - one more than he registered in his previous eight games - and lighting the lamp three times. Since returning from his most recent injury (a rib injury that cost him six games), Fehr has five goals and three assists in ten games - a 41-goal/24-assist full season pace.
The question, of course, is can he sustain it? If he continues to go to the net and can stay healthy, the two-time WHL 50-goal scorer's chances are pretty good.