|A Vinny Prospal, David Savard Pic is Pretty Random|
The thing that struck me most was a comment by Rimmer that FLA had '3 first round picks on the same line'. It is important to keep in mind that the CBJ are not at this place yet. Wennberg seems to continue to progress. Josh Anderson played with a lot of verve in his fourth game. These next few games for him, especially on the road, will tell a lot about a young player. You have to get past the 'hot damn, I'm in the NHL!' buzz to get a view on these young players. This is usually games 5-10. I thought Josh played a really good game, and the line of Anisimov, Wennberg, and Anderson looked fast, dangerous, and responsible. Not bad for the first time out. Give it a few games to jell. (Problematically,the opposition will watch video and plan ahead, which must be overcome). This babble should be taken in the context that even with the unbelievable run of injuries, the CBJ have shown good organizational discipline, and kept Dano and Rychal down in the AHL as a logical progression of their development dictates. Their growth is about next year. My point is that by next year we may see the same 'three first round picks on the same line' thing happening in Columbus.
Our players are not happy about this. That's all I care about. They played well enough to win, but didn't. That's life on the road. Gotta play better against Tampa, or it will be bad. We might have had 10 games we could lose between now and the end of the season and still be in the discussion. Now its 9. The margin grows thinner. It's been a brutal year for the CBJ. When the puck dropped against the Capitals in the last game we surpassed the previous years injury total of man games lost, with half the season left to go. In that regard, I like that our guys don't seem to want to quit. But it is a tough way to go for them. But at the end of the day, you can't leave the game for Toronto to call. It's not like we had a goal waived off or anything. We need to score more than 2 goals if we want to win consistently without Bob, and we didn't. So there it is.
We miss Nathan Horton keenly. Think about another Hartnell plus player on the ice. It really puts pressure on the other team, but now we need to come up with that internally. And that hurts. Not the money, but the fact that we acquired him as a foundation player, who would set the tone for the young guys coming up. But honestly, I would rather he be able to play with his kids, even if it means he can't play hockey again. Nathan is a guy the game will take care of some way. This is why I am proud of the CBJ medical staff for diagnosing the fractures in Boone Jenners back. I suspect Horton had the same thing, but it was not diagnosed. That is Freddy Modin's contribution to the CBJ, our medical staff knows what to look for when a player has 'back spasms'.
Our guys played a good competitive game, but came out on the short end. I fear this will happen more than we want it to down the stretch, but the bottom line is that it was a really fun hockey game to watch. A lot of back and forth action, with an unfortunate result. A midst all of this, I still think the future looks bright, even this year. With Murray poised to return, a move with the defensemen must be made. My personal preference would be to at least send Murray to the AHL for a conditioning assignment, or realistically something more permanent. I think he needs the minutes, and Connauton has supplanted him as Wiz's pair over the short term. You want to put off having to make a move on Cody Goloubef as long as possible, and sending Murray to the AHl does just that. Much as we expect Joey to prove it to us, we should expect Connauton to do the same. Murray may yet play with Wiz again.
Sigh. A loss we can ill afford. But that's hockey. It's not like we played terrible, we just didn't win. It seems like that kind of year.