Friday, October 17, 2008


Rolston's Ankle Opens the Door for Vrana

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention other, rather important result from last night's road win over the Thrashers. Brian Rolston lost his edge and careened right into the corner boards feet first. To say it hurt was an understatement. Rolston had to be helped off the ice with his teammates, not even using his right foot at all. After the game, we learn that Rolston has a high ankle sprain (link is from Gulitti).

Gulitti points out the obvious: changes will have to be made and Sutter already has the quotes on it. He also points out a similar case: Sidney Crosby had a similar injury last season and missed more than a quarter of the season with 29 games. Jersey from Imperfect Dynasty puts it best as to why this is a big loss. He (Rolston, not Jersey) was the key signing for New Jersey this offseason, he's already right up there on the first line and getting significant power play minutes, and was expected to be a scorer. Hard to do any of that if you're out injured.

Jersey guessed last night that it could be Vrana's turn and he's right. Gulitti reports that Petr Vrana will get to start and he's already practiced with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus. He was already up with the team, so it would be a real nasty message to send had the team called up, say, Nicklas Bergfors to play. Vrana isn't just getting some respect from Elias, though, he's getting an opportunity to play his way onto this team. The team clearly notes his versatility, now it's time to see if he's got the talent and the other stuff needed to stick in the NHL. He looked good in preseason, so I'm both confident and hopeful he'll make the most of this opportunity. If not, or if Vrana is found to be better suited on the lower two lines and this injury is prolonged, the Devils may want to consider Bergfors. Rolston's X-rays came up negative per Gulitti, yet it's not certain how long he'll be out. Personally, I don't think it's necessary to rush any recovery; I hope Rolston will make a full recovery before stepping on the ice - something Crosby didn't to last season. But if Rolston is still injured, say a month from now, and Vrana's not up in that spot, I'd have to think Sutter will make a call to Lowell and ask for Bergfors. It would be the chance Bergfors would need to show that drafting him in the first round back in 2005 was a good idea.

That all said, it's Vrana's chance now. I sincerely wish Vrana the best of luck tomorrow night and in the near future. It's your time to shine. (Hopefully, much more than Paul Rodgers.)

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