Friday, April 11, 2008

For The Love Of Everything Decent, Drop Robitaille and Bring In McGrattan

It was an astonishing and distasteful sight to see non-presence Randy Robitaille lined up beside Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley for Game 1 against the Penguins. As usual, Robitaille provided nothing, hit nothing and scored nothing.

Finally, Bryan Murray has seen the light and dropped Robitaille to the fourth line and promoted Martin Lapointe to play on the top unit. Lapointe was one of Ottawa's best players in game one and showed the kind of grit and overall nastiness that has been absent from the Senators since... well since 1992.

But why does Robitaille have to play at all? Wouldn't Murray rather have a grinder like the woefully underused Brian McGrattan on the fourth line?

I've never understood the unwillingness of both Murray and John Paddock before him, to put their trust in McGrattan. Teams across the league are playing their tough guys in the playoffs. Anaheim, Minnesota and Pittsburgh with Georges Laraque seem to get by okay without any disastrous results.

Just because Robitaille has more skill than McGrattan doesn't mean he can contribute more. If your team is lacking in skill because of mass injuries, why not load up on what you do have - toughness.

McGrattan is not going to drop the gloves with everyone he see's. He's going to hit guys, over and over and over again, the same as Laraque who was instrumental in the Penguins first goal in game one.

What is Robitaille going to add to the fourth line? Nothing. In fact, he'll weaken them because he refuses to play a physical game.

As of right now, the Senators don't really have an answer for the Penguins firepower. They do have an answer for the Penguins grit and toughness but that answer is sitting in the press box crushing pizza and Doritos.

Get him on the ice and see what he can contribute. Honestly, what do the Senators stand to lose?

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