Monday, October 20, 2008


Holik Down, Leblond-Latourneau Up? Seriously?

From Gulitti, we learn of two rather important bits of news. First, Bobby Holik's pinkie finger was broken and he will be out for about 3 to 4 weeks. Above all, I hope his finger heals properly before he goes out there to play. His loss is particularly hurting because the line he centered, with wingers Mike Rupp and Dainius Zubrus, has been rather good at generating some energy while being able to play actual hockey. He's been a thorn in opponent's side and I think the Devils will miss that. The other teams won't, as they'll be annoyed a little less.

What I don't understand is the other bit from Gulitti: Pierre-Luc Latourneau-Leblond was called up from Lowell to fill in that roster spot. Why him? Why not Rod Pelley who has experience centering that fourth line? Why not Nicklas Bergfors so he can play up top on the wing and Vrana can play center if only so we can see how much Sergei Brylin he has in him? Don't get me wrong, Vrana did well in his first NHL game skating with Patrik Elias and Zubrus. Maybe the Devils should go fill some of that lost veteran presence with a veteran of the Devils-preseason process and call up Pascal Rheaume. I feel that any of those would be a better option than to call up, well, the next Rob Skrlac. I fear that Latourneau-Leblond will do all of the following against Dallas and/or Philly:
  • Play 3-6 minutes on the ice and maybe get a hit or two.
  • Fight someone (Sean Avery? Steve Ott? Someone else?)
  • Force Sutter's hand to double shift a forward who can contribute more than just physical play and tire them out.
Yeah, I know, he's not a guy being called up because he's got an awesome triple deke. He's called up because he's a tough guy. Still. I'm not a fan of this move. I know it's been done before (like, well, Rob Skrlac), but I don't like it to be honest. Even from a physical perspective, I don't see how a rookie like Latourneau-Leblond is going to keep an experienced agitator (Ott) or an experienced jackass (Avery) in check.

I don't expect him to be called up for the entire 3-4 week period. Once the team sees how he does (or doesn't), I think the Devils will make some other moves to fill in that spot. With Rod Pelley, a center who has worked on that fourth line and can play some decent defensive hockey, available, I'd have to think he'll get his shot soon enough. I think he would contribute more than Latourneau-Leblond in general. That said, if Latourneau-Leblond plays well enough and contributes more than just his fists, then fair play to him - he should stay up and I'll be wrong. I just have my doubts about it.

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my guess would be that as soon as the games with dallas (avery) and philly (more than one thug on the roster) are over, he'll go back to lowell and a more skilled forward will be recalled in his place
In truth, Rupp is going to take Holik's spot at center. Which makes alot of sense to me. He is a wreaking ball at center ice. Id prefer Clarkson on the third, Gionta on the first and Zubrus 4th rw. Im not really impressed by Pelley. Sign Shanahan or Lemiex?
The money's not there to sign Shanahan and I don't think Lemieux has enough left in him. Also, why Zubrus on the fourth line when he's done well on the first line last game?

This is an opportunity to give the younger players a shot, I would think the Devils continue to do that.
I saw Leblond against Dallas and he is good and strong, he got a good defense play, can fight and can be dangerous
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