EDIT:Sorry about the wierd symbols and punctuation in this blog, I dont know why its doing this and I'm unsure how to fix it
It has to be a very slow news day for the NHL today. The top story this morning is Jesse Winchester practicing on the top-line with Heatley and Spezza.
I’m sure I’m not alone in Sens Nation wondering why this is big news, every year we go through this with a different youngster from the Sens roster. The article itself references the Bochenski experiment, and Eaves try-out along with the revolving door from last year. Let’s not forget the Alexei Kaigorodov experiment from years back.
While it’s possible they could all gel together and Winchester could fast-track himself to a Calder trophy playing with Heatley and Spezza, in all likely hood Vermette will be joining the pair if Hartsburg is committed to separating Alffie from them.
Personally I don’t see Winchester being capable of playing that caliber of hockey, at least yet. While he wasn’t bad at the prospects camp, he sure didn’t look top 6 ready.
Now the second line combo is one to be excited about.
Foligno, Kelly, Alffie.
Kelly is a proven commodity, Alffie is the Ottawa Senators and Foligno is showing extended flashes of why we picked him. Like I said in my prior blog Foligno stood out in all aspects at the Rookie camp, the kid is for real. While he isn’t an Ovechkin, Crosby or Malkin, he damn sure is on the same level as the Gagner, Turris, Kessel, O’Sullivan youth movement from last year. Last year he didn’t get the same playing opportunity the previously mentioned three did (minus turris) but this season he’ll be with club from start to finish, barring a complete collapse in his skill.
Now going back to the Winchester experiment, my firm belief that Vermette will be with Heatley/Spezza is based on a) he plays a very similar style except he is a solid two-way player and b) After Vermette’s new contract Murray wants/needs him to be a top-six.
So having the top 2 lines as
It allows Hartsburg with a solid shut-down/3rd scoring line of Bass-Fisher-Ruutu.
While this line may not put up inspiring point totals, you can bet they’ll be the guys wreaking havoc on opponent’s top-lines. Crosby beware.
Like Kevin Lee and many others have said the fourth is a logjam.
Neil,Donovan,McAmmond, Winchester, Zubov, Shannon, Carkner, Nikulin, Regin, and O’brien are all fighting for the 4th line spots.
I think it’s safe to assume Donovan has a leg-up on all of them and it’s quite possible Carkner is the 7th D-man/13th Forward he has the intangibles need to be that guy. Neil may hold a spot for a bit but he’s on the fast-track out of town regardless of how he plays. McAmmond seems like his days are numbered and will most likely be a scratch for extended lengths. Zubov is my assumption as the 11th/12th forward with either Nikulin/Shannon/Winchester waiting in Bingo for Neil to get the boot.
I’m going to follow suit behind Kevin Lee and release a Defense blog with-in a day after his, leading up to my season predictions for the entire league.
On a side note Bulinwall to Ottawa rumors are popping up around Kanata. Neil/Gerber combo is popping up as the return but it clearly doesn’t make sense for Chicago on any level. But I figured I’d share what I heard, again it really seems like BS.