Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Time to step up: Ethan Moreau

  • Left wing
  • 34 years old, 15th year in National Hockey League
  • $2,000,000 cap hit 
  • 3.4% of Columbus Blue Jackets salary cap
  • Contract expires at end of this season
  • 2009-2010 numbers (in Edmonton): 76 games played, 9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points, -18, 62 penalty minutes, 14:24 avg. time on ice
I'll just come out and admit it.  I know nothing meaningful about Ethan Moreau.  I had Center Ice last year and didn't spend much time at all watching the dreadful Edmonton Oilers.  I preferred to watch competitive hockey.  

(Really, to say that Edmonton was bad last year does a disservice to poor-performing teams.  Heck, even the Blue Jackets went 3-1-0 against Edmonton last year, and we landed in 14th place in the conference!  But I digress...)

You can read Moreau's stats as well as I can, but that doesn't tell you a lot beyond the fact that his plus-minus would have taken the green jacket for the CBJ last season but, on the "Who, us, defense?" Oilers team that he captained, he actually was one of the stronger performers.  (As a point of comparison, Patrick O'Sullivan was a -35.  Gulp.)

He's not super-expensive as a projected veteran third-liner.  And if it doesn't work out this year, he's an unrestricted free agent and both sides are free to walk away.  

So why did Scott Howson pick up Ethan Moreau when he doesn't fill any particularly pressing need at forward?  That's right, kids, leadership.  Moreau is yet another grizzled veteran/former captain brought in to right the ship of state in the locker room.  Just like Chris Clark.  And Michael Peca before that.  But this isn't the time to gripe about leadership or personnel matters - I've got Rick Nash and Scott Howson pieces to come.  Point is, Moreau clearly is projected to play a "character" role in the locker room this season.  And, speak of the devil, Nash is pretty pleased about Moreau's joining the squad:
"(Moreau) is going to be huge in the dressing room. The leadership and experience he has earned being captain for all these years with be a big boost to our young guys."

Moreau seems to be warming to the task, too.  His first interview when he hit Columbus suggested that his form of leadership is to break the "everyone's OK, everything's OK" mentality when everything is most definitely NOT OK.  He's going to be Howson and Arniel's feather-ruffler.  Thank God someone's going to do it!  Such behavior might have helped shake the team out of its November-to-January funk last year.  

And don't you think the Moreau-Clark training camp battle for the third-line slot alongside Pahlsson and Dorsett will be epic?  OK, so I'm joking.  I really don't know what to write.  

Can anyone from Edmonton help a brother out?  

(Before I move along, though, one last thing: Having Ethan Moreau around  is gonna be good for the ladies.  Might even make Jared Boll step up his game, don't you think?)

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