You cannot underestimate role players.
The guys who make a significant contribution to a line or a hockey club, but don't get much praise on the stat sheet.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have an enormous amount of talent they can spread around their team, but the guy they chose to play right wing on Sidney Crosby’s line has been Pascal Dupuis for four-plus seasons -- a rugged, second-tier winger who can get you 25 goals and is also a top penalty killer.
And now Dupuis is likely gone for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Keeping Crosby happy, keeping the Pens' top line going, and keeping No. 87 atop the NHL scoring leaders is paramount to general manager Ray Shero.
So don’t be surprise if he makes a run for Max Talbot.
Sure, Talbot has already been traded once but the fact remains, Talbot is not a very good fit on the ice with Colorado and would be a perfect fit in Pittsburgh.
And let’s not forget, Sid and Max are best buds, too.
@tpanotchCSN I noticed Phillys 1st 2 road games are against teams which plays the night before and Philly is off. Take advantage of that.— nyrs_rangers (@nyrs_rangers) December 27, 2013
Surprisingly, however, we have seen other teams come into Philly and play with far more emotion and energy than the Flyers. It’s not supposed to happen, but it does, especially if the opponent suspects the other team is thinking it will be easy. Minnesota gave the Flyers fits for one period the last homestand after playing the night before. Phoenix came into Philly and beat the Flyers earlier in the season playing back-to-back with a game in Detroit the previous night.
@tpanotchCSN if downie were to return.. would Raffl move to fourth line and re-shuffle would begin?— Josh Kay (@JoshKayNHL) December 27, 2013
One of the “givens” in pro sports over the years was that an athlete should never lose his job to an injury. Yet it happens. Craig Berube said before the Flyers' current five-game road trip out west began that he didn’t want to mess with the chemistry certain lines seemed to have in a very short period. Coaches are very leery about changing things after wins. And given the Flyers recent homestand, you could understand why he didn’t want to mess with their good fortune. Downie was expected to be worked into the lineup with gradual increases in ice time. Also, the mix with Vinny Lecavalier on Sean Couturier’s line was one that Berube liked a lot and didn’t want to change right away.
“@tpanotchCSN: food for thought: youngest Oiler is Yakupov. Has 6 goals; Oldest Oiler is Smyth. Has 6 goals.” At that rate I might starve...— Gomero (@GomeroPaul) December 28, 2013
It’s one of the many things wrong with the Edmonton Oilers this season. It’s really bad when a 2012 first-overall draft pick, who is 20 and capable of lighting it up every night, has the same few number of goals as a 37-year-old who has been a lifetime Oiler with a few stops between before he came back to finish out his career in Edmonton. Shouldn’t happen. Yakupov is minus-25, too. That shouldn’t happen, either.
@tpanotchCSN and our captain is 25 yrs old and has the same number of goals as Matt Read who didn't make an NHL roster until he was 25— Bob Mainello (@TTAPhilly) December 28, 2013
Except Claude Giroux struggled from the get-go this season because of that freak golf injury suffered over the summer and the general malaise that inflicted the entire club. I think you are going to see a very different Giroux in the second half.