Hamilton played his best game of the season last night and best since the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in the summer where he opened a lot of eyes as to his potential in a 5-3 win over Ottawa.
These are the things that I've been saying about him all along. He wasn't playing up to his capabilities to date. It's not that he recorded 4 assists (1/4 of his seasons output to date), but because he excelled in every aspect of the game and played to his expectations.
Whether it was his passing, his skating, his finishing checks his strong defensive play, you name it, that was Hamilton at his best. And that's the Hamilton i wanted to see. Not every night as I'm sure he will have an off night here and there at this stage. But on a more consistent basis.
His passes were crisp, clean and on the mark throughout the night, where to date this season, he wasn't converting on many attempts. His shots were accurate and on target where he was missing earlier. His defensive game was stellar. He wasn't getting caught pinching and recovered well. In his previous game, prior to the Subway Series, he made 5 pinch attempts of which 2 led to a 2 on 1 and 2 led to a 3 on 2. That is not Dougie Hamilton but had been the norm throughout the season to date.
He is a talent for sure and last night proved it. It is for the play he showed last night that he gets the praise he does and not for the Hamilton we saw in 22 previous games.
We can set aside the 4 assists and look at his play in every aspect he showed and that is what i would like to see him do consistently. Now that he's given us a taste, it's up to Dougie to continue that curve on an upward trend.