More Pre-Game - Havlat on the PK?
posted Apr 27, 2006 at 01:11PM
Well first kudos to coach Murray to come to the defence of Neil and Chara in respect to the self-righteous ranting of Cherry. As you know I have had some serious beefs with Murray this season, especially when it comes to how he organizes his people, but in many other areas he is a sharp improvement over Jacque Martin.
According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, Arnason may get a reprieve from the doghouse and be pressed into service if Kelly is a no go for tonight's tilt. One would think then that he would be put in as the fourth line centre. (If he puts him on the line with Spezza and Heatley in place of Vermette, I would ... well I would "cringe" to say the least.)
Of course being fourth line centre has some challenges all of its own. I never liked Vermette on the fourth line because I felt it meant his offensive potential was being lost to the team. But his time there has shown, although hardly an enforcer, that he wasn't any wall-flower either. Arnason on the other hand, although also having some offensive skills, has often played with a distinct aversion to body contact. An Arnason who is playing well, would be a great addition to the overall depth of the team.
Arnason does not have the luxury of having play-off jitters; he has to hit the ice ready to play. His career, literally, may be on the line.
Of course if Kelly is gone, that would leave a big hole in the usual PK pairings. I could not find the thread, but I remember someone on a Senator's chat board suggesting that Havlat be given his shot on the PK. Given that Havlat started the whole short-handed goal scoring thing for Ottawa, I for one, would think that an excellent suggestion.
I know after the Toronto debacle, I had grave concerns about Murray being able to psychologically prepare the team for play-off hockey. Thier energetic performance in Game Three did much to assuage my fears in that regard. Let's hope they come out with the same fire tonight. Winning this game would give us a choke-hold on Tampa, and help us to avoid a long series.