yep. well said. i've felt exactly the same. some nights he's looked completely out of sorts. like his head wasn't in it. and then it just clicks again. it's like a rubik's cube that's not quite squared off.... and then click.. there it goes...
which is surprising, because i really have felt his consistent top-level play was Bourque-like for the first few years. it was dominant, and i thought the offense would really start picking up this year but it feels like he's taken a step back at the start here.
we'll see where it goes. he's a great, talented kid so he gets plenty of leeway to figure it out. once he gets that confidence back and starts driving the play again like he really can, he'll be back among the better d-men in the league.
i do wish he and they all would find a way to avoid some contact though. you do not have to take every single hit every single time. need to be more strategic on that. pick your battles for the heavy contact but still play consistently aggressive. tough to do of course.