Saturday, September 20, 2008
Here We Go
During tonight's pre-season tilt against the Rangers, coach Craig Hartsburg has made his first decisions on line combinations.
The second guessing starts now...
Welcome to Ottawa Mr. Hartsburg.
While Jesse Winchester has been deposited on the big line as expected, the out-of-left-field decision has been to place Nick Foligno as a centre between Antoine Vermette and Daniel Alfredsson. Allen Panzeri's article in today's Ottawa Conservative ....errrrr.... Citizen explains this by saying that Hartsburg was used to seeing Foligno as a centre in junior hockey so he's giving him a shot there tonight.
So much for the speculation by Gord Wilson and myself that Vermette would be given that shot at centre, his natural position.
But it's an interesting experiment and just the type of thinking that's needed to breathe some new life into this team. I personally don't see Foligno being the proper centre for Alfredsson but stranger things have worked in the past. It's at least worth a look and seeing that it's pre-season, perhaps Vermette will get an opportunity there as well before it's all over.
Line to watch: Mike Fisher centering Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Neil. That will be total mayhem on ice and probably the feistiest line the Senators have ever put together in their history, or at least since their first season when half the team was a bunch of blood thirsty ankle skaters wielding roughly hewn Sherwood axe handles.
My only dissent stems from the fact that the organization has already proclaimed Martin Gerber to be the number one goalie before anyone has even hit the ice.
It seems to me it would have been better to hold a competition for that spot in training camp, giving Alex Auld and Brian Elliot some hope as well.
But I guess there's talk of having to give Gerber that "shot of confidence" he so desperately needs not to breakdown.
After all, he's earned his status hasn't he...