Monday, October 27, 2008


Will Someone Make the Call?

Tom Gulitti has reported that Bobby Holik and Brian Rolston are now officially on long term injured reserve. It's a sensible move as both players have already been out the minimum length to be on LTIR and it's going to be a while before either player returns to action. Might as well free up a little more cap space. Now, earlier in the day, Gulitti has made it clear that A) Jamie Langenbrunner's status is up in the air for Wednesday night against Toronto and B) it's not even clear if anyone will be called up. Sheldon Brookbank did play at forward on the fourth line on Saturday and contributed little - as did the fourth line as a whole, in the bigger scheme of the game.

I'd like to make the point that now is the perfect time to call up Nicklas Bergfors if Langenbrunner isn't going to be ready for the next game or even Saturday's game. While Brookbank didn't hurt the team's efforts; there is a reason he is better suited for defense. He's not soft, but he definitely stuck out on a line with Pierre-Luc Latourneau-Leblond and Mike Rupp. Sutter's lines against the Flyers on Saturday were odd and I think it helped work against the Devils at times. I mean, really, Patrik Elias playing on the off-wing? Come on. I think this set of forwards would be better off for Wednesday if Langenbrunner can't go:


In this set, you keep the tandems of players who have been playing well with each other: Elias and Zubrus, Parise and Zajac, and Madden and Pandolfo. Vrana has shown he can handle playing center in his set of games so far, so I see no reason to change that. Gionta finally potted one in on Saturday to show that he is, indeed, a scoring winger. However, for a few games, I think his speed will mesh much better with the quickness of John Madden than to have him play on the top line with either Elias or Zubrus handling duties at center or shoehorning in on what Zajac and Parise have got going. Also, I think Gionta - just on the basis that he's a Devil - can handle the defensive responsibilities that go with the third line. Besides, he'll make the counter attacks that Madden and Pandolfo generally force just a bit more threatening to the opposition. The fourth line is still a "banging" line and a better one than if Brookbank was in Clarkson's spot, so you got that going for you.

As far as Bergfors goes, we've seen that he has the skillset of a scoring forward and has been drafted as such. Now is a great chance to see that in action. He'll be pumped to be playing in New Jersey and I'm sure will at least give a good effort. Besides, if he doesn't do as well, it's not the end of the world - he can be sent down and someone else can be called up and I can admit that Bergfors didn't cut it in a short call-up. Regardless, I think the lines I came up with would be a better option for what the Devils can do now than what they did do on Saturday afternoon.

And in any case, if things don't work out in game, Brent Sutter will just mix up the lines like he usually does.

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I agree, call up Bergfors if Langenbrunner is out and put Vrana in the center spot. However, Zubrus should not play on a "higher line" than either Gionta or Clarkson. Although Zubrus should be the center on the 2nd line power play unit.
If anyone cares this is what I would do.

Elias Vrana Clarkson
Parise Zajac Bergfors
Pandolfo Madden Gionta
LeBlond Rupp Zubrus
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