A Statement Game But What Message Was Sent?

Discussion in 'Hockey Talk' started by Sir Rodney, May 18, 2011.

  1. Sir Rodney

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    I have mixed emotions about the drubbing the Canucks put on San Jose this evening. It's one thing to break the opposing team's will but it's something quite different to give them a rallying point. The turning point in that game and quite possibly the series took place in the First Period when San Jose rattled one off the post. If they score on that play, the Canucks are down by two goals. Shortly thereafter, the Canucks score two within 39 seconds and the game totally changed.

    I can totally understand why Vancouver ran up the score. The hit on Daniel Sedin could have been a series determiner. Instead, the refs wrote it off as embellishment on Daniel's part. I don't have a problem with the call as the Canucks made the Sharks pay on the resulting power play. The Bieksa/Marleau "fight" could be considered a bit of payback as well. From that point on it was the Ben Eager Comedy Hour. I hope he returns for a re-run in San Jose on Friday. He has single-handedly revived the power play and given the Canucks all the will to bury these guys they could have hoped for.

    Friday will be interesting to say the least. It's just unfortunate that these teams like and respect each other so much. Thorry, my tongue jus got sthuck between my teef.
     
  2. m_peroni

    m_peroni Hall of Fame

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    I don't think there was any message sent. SJ just beat themselves and have no control of their focus, consistency, and mental toughness.

    They are chokers. They may win one, but that's that.
     
  3. Original Beast

    Original Beast 2nd Team All-Star

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    hey SR,

    i hear your concern, but i'm afraid i'm gonna side with Peroni on this one. the Sharks look frustrated. they skated very well, played well, then got neutralized by Vancouver's speed and execution in the 2nd, and in the 3rd, they just fell apart while Vancouver made them pay for their mental/emotional breakdown. doesnt that remind you of our Canucks the past 2 years against Chicago?? we have finally matured.

    and i love the depth on this team. it's strong, and the defence built by Gillis has been nothing but spectacular. i mean, i have to apologize to Bieksa for ragging on his years prior to this one (yes, a long time ago, but his play this playoffs makes up everything and more!). he's been a beast, and Hamhuis has got to be the best invisible man in the league - makes plays so effortlessly that prevent problems for his goalie/d-partner, and still make that transition play for the offence with silky ease. that pair is a gem, and i can't see how Gillis doesn't sign Bieksa long term after this playoffs ends. anyhow, with this puck movement and defensive positioning, there is little that the sharks can do - they are not fast enuff to get in there to use their size and aggressiveness.

    on the shark's end, their defence aside from boyle are not quick enuff against the vancouver forwards. the Lapierre line has been a machine out there - fast, agitative, and physically imposing with thier aggressive hitting and play. add some panic on the Sharks part, and space is created. we've not seen so many scoring opportunities since the regular season. And real nice to see teh twins back to their "regular" form. they were superb last night.

    this thing is over in 5 unless sharks wake up and find a way. but i'm afraid, even Mclellan knows his team is inferior. that said, they are still a powerful team and anything can happen. but i'm sure enjoying this .=0)
     
  4. Connecticut

    Connecticut 1st Round Pick

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    I thought the Sharks played a lot better in Game 2 than they did in the opener -- they managed to get the puck in deep much more effectively and as a result had more effective forecheck. Having said that, they only managed to parlay that into sustained pressure and scoring chances a small handful of times throughout the game, including the post in the first you mentioned, SR. The bottom line is that through two games the Sharks have managed just 2 EV goals, one on the Luongo give-away to Thornton, and one to Eager on one of the most blatant cases of goalie interference that the refs didn't bother to call with the game out of reach. They're 3-for-3 on the powerplay, which is impressive, but totally unsustainable.

    On the flip side, they have no consistent answer for the Canucks' offence at even strength or the PP. Vancouver made some really nice adjustments to the PP after the Sharks did a good job on them in Game 1. But basically the Sharks D is too slow and can't make good enough passes to beat the speedy Vancouver forecheck. Friedman made the observation that none of the Sharks' LD can make an outlet pass, so the Canucks (and Wings before them) just dump it in on the RD, force them to pass it to the LD, then clean up the mess.

    This series is far from over -- the Sharks have a powerhouse offense that has been dormant at even strength -- but they're not exactly a team strong on composure, and they're going to have to win 4 out of the next 5 against a Canucks' team that's won 7 of their last 9, while the Sharks have won only once in their past 6 games.
     
  5. rikster

    rikster 2nd Team All-Star

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    I see it differently... The Canucks have dominated in an area the Sharks can't match which is speed...

    And as much as the Sharks might try to huff and puff, they cannot dominate physically which leads to the goonery we saw last night...

    Question will be if the Sharks can find a way to slow down the games to a speed which the likes of Thornton and Heatley can thrive in...

    Watching the Sharks attack the offensive zone, you can see they have one foot on forward and the other on reverse because they know if they lose the puck it's going the other way in a hurry.... The Canucks on the other hand are sending in everybody with little fear that they can't get back...

    I was impressed with the Sharks coach after the game, although what was he thinking putting Eager on the ice after he loses his marbles on the bench?

    It was still a close game and it took his team right out of the game...

    Take care...
     
  6. Original Beast

    Original Beast 2nd Team All-Star

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    Huge mistake ...

    in game 3 by Vancouver's coaching staff.
    When i heard coach V tinker with a winning line up, i was already scared he was over-thinking the game, trying to outsmart SJ, and over anticipate the Eager effect (who didn't even play). when i saw that Brad Watson was reffing the game, i was like - oh no!. Watson is famous for penalty filled games, and game 3 was one of the worst with more whistle-happiness than we've seen this entire playoffs. simply unacceptable in a conference final game. Even if 60-70% were deserved, the Sharks ended with 10 powerplays to finish the game. Coach V was right about one thing, all their shots came on the pp.

    Did the 4th line cost us this game? no. our lack of effort and skating and poor execution did. The approach was all wrong to begin with however. you screw with the hockey gods, and tinker your winning lineup - a line up effective in it's puck control and heady speed. instead, they try to toughen up, and slow down, and take a "get ready for the onslaught" approach to the game. and so the saying goes, you expect to defend against a bashing, a bashing is what you'll get. SJ sped up, we slowed down to accomodate. no wonder we got so many penalties, we were chasing all night.

    the worse part of all this of course, is that it hurt our defense. Erhoff, most significantly is out, and so is Rome. thank goodness for Gillis' wisdom surrounding our depth. With Ballard and Alberts coming it, we shouldn't suffer too much of a loss here, but Erhoff will be missed for his shot and creativity on the powerplay.

    on a side note - i was dissappointed in Luongo. not blaming him, as i've been a huge supporter of his for so long, but he continues to carry with him some significant drawbacks, namely allowing at least one suspect goal a game (usually ill timed, like at the start of game or end of one), but even worse, is his inability to not give up that next big goal that makes it too hard for the team. i am, of course speaking of the 3-0 and 4-1 goals. not that they were his fault, but if he's to be anything like his "hero, Grant Fuhr" and join that elite list of great goalies, he's simply got to make those saves. he has not bailed out his team on any occasion this playoffs, except for that save on patrick sharpt in game 7 overtime (altho you can argue it wouldn't have been needed had he not let in another late goal at the end to Toews).

    anyhow, let's hope we stick to our game - which is fast, unaccomodating, and strong. we are the best team remaining, and we have to play like it. SJ played a very good game yesterday, they were faster , stronger and hungrier. They also made the right adaptations , namely sending 2 forwards deep to press the van defense and moving the puck quicker b/t players to compensate for their lack of foot speed relative to Vancouver. But they are fragile. despite owning most of the game, they still almost lost it.

    to end this on a positive note, again praise goes to Bieksa for almost carrying the team for a near-complete comeback. i hope that kind of urgency can spread to the others. kesler has been outplayed by Thornton so far.
    This post was edited on 5/21 3:57 PM by Original Beast
     
  7. Connecticut

    Connecticut 1st Round Pick

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    It's hard to believe that the Canucks are just one victory away from a long awaited return to the Stanley Cup finals. It's not like I didn't realize we were in the conference finals before today, but still, it feels like it just sneaks up on you. Not going to count my chickens yet, though, the Canucks have already shown that you can lose three in a row pretty quickly if you really want to.

    Having said that, San Jose is now 2-6 in their last 8 games and is nowhere near close to firing on all cylinders. They have it in them, theoretically, but I'm just not seeing it out of guys they need badly -- Heatley, Setoguchi, Pavelski, have all been invisible this series. They'd better hope Thornton is back for Game 5 if they want to have a prayer.

    The opening 25 minutes of Game 5 were really tough to watch. Having won the game I feel entitled to eviscerate the officiating a little here. I thought maybe 1 of the first five calls were "good" but it was just a parade of embarrassment from the zebras. You can argue that the 5th call on Hamhuis was legit; but the two on Glass were weak calls for the pre-season - particularly the one he got for boarding with one hand on player who was already falling down. The two that really got me were the Torres call for charging -- was the ref Finnish or something?? -- Torres glides in from the blue line before taking a step and a half. Just an absurd call for the playoffs especially. But the worst was the call on Bieksa for high sticking -- unless I'm extremely mistaken, Bieksa had just played the puck, so the follow-through that hit Thornton up high can't be high sticking. Just an embarrassing night for the refs.

    Whatever -- hockey gods evened it up. Particularly those Norse hockey gods, Henrik Sedin and Sami Salo. Huge marks to the PP for finally getting it done there, three goals, none of which took even 20 seconds to score. And very high marks for the PK that allowed them to keep it 0-0 to that point, and Luongo in particular, who was stellar.

    Game 5 is on Tuesday -- they're 0-2 in Game 5s so far this post-season, so they'll have to postpone dreams of the finals until they put the final nal in the Sharks' coffin. Not much else to say about Game 4, given that it was dominated by the refs and neither team really had a chance to get things going 5-on-5. I did like that Ballard and Tanev were steady in replacement of Ehrhoff and Rome -- a lot of credit has to go to Mike Gillis for making sure that we had that depth waiting in the wings.

    After watching us go up 3-0 on the Hawks I would have said that they had very little chance of mounting a comeback the way they were playing, and they revved their game up in a hurry. Same could be true of the Sharks, although I'm really not sure they have it in them. They just seem like such a mentally fragile team that as long as the Canucks don't take their foot off the gas they would need an absolute miracle to mount a comeback. But I won't be celebrating until we have 4 wins.
     
  8. Original Beast

    Original Beast 2nd Team All-Star

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    hey CC,

    i hear ya there. the zebras were at it again! terrible terrible calls, and the number of them staggering. 5 straight so so calls. Sharks can't complain there - they had every chance to climb right back in this series. Vancouver's players looked ready to play today however, and it showed. the twins, Henrik in particular looked like a general out there today - poised, strong, and in absolute control of the puck on a rather crappy looking ice surface. i've never seen a player make a pass thru the goalies legs before. =0)

    i'll give credit where it is due - Luongo had his best start to this series today. he , along with the PK unit were superb. nice adjustments by the coaching staff and the defense. loved seeing Ballard on the ice, and he pair nicely with Tanev. bold, and successful call by V to use the kid. i'd be happy with this top 6 the rest of the way if need be, and even next year (ok, let's not get ahead of yourself Beast!).

    Torres as you say was a wrecking ball today, doing to SJ what McGinn did to us last game. i like the way he fits here, if he can keep his elbows down, and limit the steps to his big hits. the call on him today , was absolute garbage.

    honestly, CC, i didn't like that V started Glass again today, and starting him on the 1st shift with Kesler was bizarre to say the least. the calls on him were horsebleep, and it almost cost us, but it looked like the zebras had a talking to Tanner, basically telling him to not start crap (a message to coaching staff of vancouver??). i dont' like refs deciding games, and they've done it for 2 games straight now. one for each team now. Bad break for SJ, losing Thornton will be the end of them. looked like he couldn't even hold his stick after that hit.

    let's finish this thing off. 5 more wins, and this city is gonna explode.
     
  9. Sir Rodney

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    When Do The Refs Stop Being "The Story"?

    Hi Con Can,

    I don't know whether it's the change over from the old guard to the new breed but something has to be done to garner some consistency in officiating in games this critical. It used to be that officials had a ranking and the responsibility of calling games late in the playoffs only went to those who had a feel for what to call. I don't have a problem with any of the calls but when you factor in what isn't called then all I can do is shake my head in frustration. You can only imagine how confused the players must be when they go through long periods of anything goes only to put your team in a critical situation when something previously ignored gets called. Game 3 was determined by the number of power play opportunities the Sharks were awarded. Game 4 started the same way but the Canucks' penalty killing neutralized that and, in fact, gave them the best scoring opportunity short handed. Weathering that first period has most likely secured a spot in the Cup Finals.

    You could argue the Law of Averages came back to bite the Sharks in the second period but if there's even the remotest idea that there was some make up calls on the part the refs (I am sure the Shark fans must feel they were screwed by that agenda), then they played a part in determining the outcome and that's not their job.

    The League has to make up its mind on what the standard of play will be and stick to it. If it's virtually anything goes, then have the refs keep the whistles in their pockets for anything except gross misconduct, removing scoring opportunities or protecting the players from serious injury. This is a body contact game and yet this is the area where the inconsistencies tend to arise. Let the players bump and crash and police themselves and you will put an end to all the embellishment as this is only there to influence the inconsistent calls. It would be a violent game as it is now but only for unpredictable time periods.

    It may well be that standard isn't what they are looking for and that's fair enough too. If they don't want the return of clutch and grab then call "all" of the clutches and grabs. Define how and where a player can be contacted and enforce it. This attitude that it's the playoffs has got to go. As I said, the issue isn't what is called, it's when it isn't called consistently. Virtually every game has generated its share of frustration and confusion. That has to be fixed. There's far too much at stake to let it go on as it is.

    As far as the Series goes, my prediction of the Nucks in 5 is looking a heck of lot better than it did after Game 3. If there were 4000 Nucks fans in San Jose as was reported, then they have a clear sense that we are on the verge of seeing something very special. Who wouldn't want to be part of that?
     
  10. m_peroni

    m_peroni Hall of Fame

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    Sharks = Underachievers. hey keep adding exceptional players and they play terrible hockey in the post-season.

    Time to fire Todd?
     
  11. Connecticut

    Connecticut 1st Round Pick

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    I think the question should be, time to fire Doug?

    At least McClellan has got them to the Conference finals two years in a row. At some point you've got to realize that if you stack your forwards but there's nobody besides Boyle on defense to get them the puck. The series of moves, whether they're connected or not, that saw them acquire Dany Heatley and lose Ehrhoff is just mind boggling when you look at that team. They gave up Ehrhoff for next to nothing -- tell me they wouldn't trade Heatley for him in this series without batting an eye.
     
  12. Die-hard1

    Die-hard1 6th Round Pick

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    Been away for a week down south, had to watch the games on Versus. Listening to Pang and his constant fawning over the Sharks is painful - you'd think they were the only team on the ice.

    Now that I'm back in the north, good to see the Nucks taking it to the Sharks. The one thing I've noticed, with few exceptions, is the Nucks have outplayed the Sharks almost throughout this series. The Sharks just haven't been able to establish their forecheck, and it seems to me the reason is simply because their D is nowhere near as good as Vancouver's. The Nucks move the puck out of their own zone and up to the forwards just much, much better than the Sharks D do, and that's the big difference in this series.

    It's not over yet though - Nucks will need to continue to push the Sharks hard, they don't want another team coming back on them. They haven't been able to close out any team in game 5 in their two other chances this playoffs - let's hope they are able to this time.
     
  13. m_peroni

    m_peroni Hall of Fame

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    I think Wilson has built an incredible team, actually. He tried to add another puck mover, but it's not easy either. The defense may not be skilled, but defensively it is very solid, strong, and able to shut down well.

    I think any coach would dream to have such a team. Sometimes it's the coach who has to outdo the opposing coach and push his team to the next level.
     
  14. Die-hard1

    Die-hard1 6th Round Pick

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    I agree that they have one heck of a team Peroni, but I just don't think it's a coaching problem. McLellan does push the right buttons a lot of the time, IMHO, he just doesn't have the horses on the back end.

    He's got a very good defensive team, but the forwards are too slow to keep up and as a result they leave the 3rd forward open quite a bit, and the D can't join the offense (other than Boyle) as much as they should because they don't have the wheels.

    Speed seems to be Vancouver's biggest advantage in this series - we'll see if they can keep it going tonight.
     
  15. Original Beast

    Original Beast 2nd Team All-Star

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    i don't think the coach is the problem either Peroni.
    TM is a solid, analytical and intelligent coach. yes, Wilson's put some great parts together, but i think the balance of the team isn't quite as strong as it appears.

    the 3rd line is still suspect (hey, we had Wellwood as our third line center last year, look where it got us!). the defense as DieHard noted, is solid yet, unspectacular, especially in the mobility department. the transition plays to move the puck up to their elite forwards gets pressed during hte playoffs when the game speeds up.

    that said, i think the team only needs a few tweaks. i honestly don't think Thornton or Marleau are the problem. Boyle is a great defenceman, and the surrounding cast has talent. Heatley concerns me, as he's never quite proven to much of a playoff performer, especially on the backcheck (something Thornton is now doing). question of course is whether they have the cap for it. another puck moving transition style defenceman is what they need, but they will be hard to come by, given the news of Rafalski's retirement, and the questions surrounding Lidstrom. this is gonna prove a difficult summer for the Sharks, and the Canucks, given 3 of our d-men are UFA's - Bieksa, Salo, and Erhoff - 2 of them likely will be hotly pursued by our competitors.

    Wilson may have to sacrifice one of his scorers up front. keep the coach, there aren't many better than him.
     
  16. Sir Rodney

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    Actually, It's Four

    Don't forget our former pylon, Alberts. He is an UFA this Summer as well.

    For Wilson to get something approaching the kind of depth the Canucks have, he is going to have to create space on the back end or he's going to be forced to go with what he has now. Boyle, Vlassic and Murray still have at least two more years left on their contracts and Demers' cap hit more than doubles this coming year and next. White and Wallin, White in particular, could be argued to have performed best after Boyle in the playoffs and they are UFAs. Just re-signing the group they have now adds salary to the Cap. Huskins is the only other UFA and it's possible he the most likely to be replaced but you won't be able to add a top four defender for what Wilson would save there. According to CapGeek, their projected Cap Space is just over half of what the Canucks will have so that really doesn't give Wilson much tinker room.

    When you factor in how parallel the Sharks have been to the Canucks in terms of regular season success and playoff frustration, then I tend to agree with Mick that Wilson has to be held the most accountable. He has focused his attention on the front end and they've let him down when it counted most. He hasn't improved the way Gillis has with his back end first philosophy. In my opinion, I think the Sharks have peaked with the current roster. Starting next season, I feel they will start their decline towards a major roster shake up. If the Sharks' Management Team feels the same way, they should start their re-build now by trading some of their top end forwards. Heatley for one, has got to be moved for salary relief if nothing else. For Danny Boy to be the highest paid player on that roster makes no sense to me what-so-ever. Replacing him with a top two defenseman would make a world of difference to that team's prospects.
     
  17. Die-hard1

    Die-hard1 6th Round Pick

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    Re: Actually, It's Four

    I'm not that worried about the D situation, as others seem to be. I assume Bieksa will re-sign for a multi-year deal, and yes he's going to get paid probably $5 million a season for 5 years.

    I assume Ehrhoff will be gone, and I assume that Ballard will be kept. That leaves Hamhuis, Edler, Ballard, Rome, Tanev as depth. They'll likely keep Sami around for a 1 year deal as well, he's been very solid these playoffs. The D will be fine, and Gillis has about $13 million left to spend after re-signing Bieksa, assuming he'll get around $5 million, so lots of cash to play with.
     
  18. Original Beast

    Original Beast 2nd Team All-Star

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    Re: Actually, It's Four

    i agree with that assessment DH. i can't see how we'll be able to sign both Erhoff and Bieksa. Kevin will be kept - the assistant captain has absolutely proven every one wrong. now that he's healthy, and playing like the "potential" shown in Bieksa year one, there is no way we dont' sign him. he's a core guy. Last year, i thought he needed a change of scenery to regain his form, but it turns out all he needed was a new defense partner!

    Regarding Erhoff - he is gonna get stupid money. talented D-men are rare, and many teams will go after him. if Gillis can pull it off, it would be amazing. (Ballard would have to moved).
     
  19. Connecticut

    Connecticut 1st Round Pick

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    I think the biggest potential difference Bieksa>Ehrhoff in terms of keeping them is that I think if the Canucks give Bieksa a fair offer before July 1st then he'll sign it. He's been with the organization his whole career and I suspect he wants to stay. Ehrhoff is more of a question mark -- if he doesn't sign before July 1st he's as good as gone.

    Having said that, I do think we could retain both of them, especially if MG is willing to jettison Ballard. The question for MG will be whether Ballard is a work in progress or a guy who may be a good player but just not a fit for the Canucks and their system. And, if it's the latter, can they find a taker at $4.2 million, which I think they will be able to, but might see an Ehrhoff-like return of a couple of middling prospects.
     
  20. Sir Rodney

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    Ballard

    Hi Con Can,

    The acquisition of Ballard was a good one even if he hasn't turned out to be one of the Canucks' top four as many expected. I really don't think Gillis will be jettisoning any of his defense in the off season. The ability to have bodies who could step in and cover without missing a beat has been a huge edge the Canucks have enjoyed. Erhoff and Rome go out - Ballard and Tanev step in - Canucks still win. What a luxury. I think it's great that a top Canuck Draft Pick in Grabner has found his niche in Long Island. Knowing everything that we know today, would you still expect Gillis to make that deal? I do. Grabner simply didn't fit our needs at the time. A quality defenseman who had a history of staying healthy and logging quality minutes was a far greater need. If we are predicting what happens, I think both Bieksa and Erhoff re-sign here. The Cup Part 2 and possibly 3 is waiting in the wings. Fair money rather than ridiculous money accompanied by a chance to win it all is a good reason to stay.
     
  21. Sir Rodney

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    Re: Actually, It's Four

    Hey Beast,

    I gave my opinion in the Ballard post. This will be one of the most interesting debates for the post season. We will see who's right, you and Die Hard or me.
     
  22. Connecticut

    Connecticut 1st Round Pick

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    Re: Ballard

    I generally agree on Ballard, and I don't think it's entirely out of the question that we will see all 3 of Ehrhoff, KB3 and KB4 back next season. Having said that, for a contending team living in a cap-constrained world, it's all about trade-offs. That doesn't mean every player has to be a bargain (although we certainly have a few of those) but you also can't be overpaying for what you're getting or else you're cutting corners elsewhere.

    That's not to say that Ballard can't be a $4.2M D-man, but it would be hard to argue he has been used as one this year (whether or not you think he deserved to at least be given a chance to). It certainly was nice to have Ballard and Tanev step in seamlessly when we lost Ehrhoff and Rome to injury, but the question I ask myself is whether we wouldn't have been better off with Alberts being there instead and using the remaining $3M to have a 4th line that AV is willing to play more than three minutes in 5 periods.

    I have had faith in Mike Gillis from the outset, and it's only grown as I've watched him build this team, so I'm pretty content to live with whatever he ends up doing given the constraints he's facing. I'm just saying that that while losing Ballard would cost us on some dimensions, we could use his salary to compensate for it in other areas.

    Still, I agree that I don't think the trade for Grabner and a 1st was one that I would take back, even in retrospect. In a magical world where we have a developed Grabner and a 1st, I bet we could trade that for more than we could currently trade Ballard -- so we may have less of an asset in that sense, but chances are had we kept Grabner we would have had to waive him just like Florida did and all we'd have is an overpaid Bernier and a late first round draft pick, and a much less deep defense.
     
  23. Sir Rodney

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    Saving Cap Space

    Assuming that Gillis and Gilman can work their wonders and keep the top six defense as close to what they have now, you have to think that they are looking for creative ways of working a few more of their prospects into the lineup. They showed a lot of faith in Hodgson when it counted so you have to assume he's a lock to stay with the big club. Add Tanev to that list. After that, it gets a bit dodgy. Malhotra is the key to whatever they plan on doing. It is inspirational having him out skating with the team and motivating them in the dressing room but can he play next season or not? Higgins and Lapierre both showed so much more than the fourth line they started with so do they get an extension removing even more of the opportunities for fresh blood? You can only go with so many veterans, even with home town discounts, before you max out the cap. The kids save you money but they still have to be able to play.

    It's fun speculating, especially when you are looking from a position of strength. There's no reason to assume that the goal for next year is to win the Cup (hopefully again). They are a ways off from having to re-tool.
     

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