January 21st, 2010, 12:17 pm
News just broke that Dan Boyle will miss tonight’s game with an “upper body injury” and the star of UP IN THE AIR, Jason Demers, will be taking his place.
Normally, I’d be wetting myself at the thought of Dan Boyle not suiting it up tonight, but I’m actually curious to see how they look without him. It’s going to be a telling sign if the Sharks will be business as usual, riding high as they have been for the last two games, playing their best hockey of the season or if they will go totally in the toilet, spiraling into an embarrassing home loss to the Ducks. This is where good teams can come together and overcome the short-term absence of great players to collect a few gritty victories.
How will Jason Demers do with a featured role? Will Vlasic flourish or sink when given more minutes and asked to push the tempo and lead the rush?
The Sharks should be given credit this season for managing their injuries effectively and not rushing players back when they’re not ready to play at their potential. If Boyle is dinged up, I’d rather have him sit out until next Thursday against the Blackhawks than get roughed up tonight against the Ducks. Pick your battles at this point and tonight, the Sharks have made the smart play.
This will also give management a chance to see what hockey life looks like without Boyle. If he went down with a long term injury, I would fear that all Stanley Cup hopes would be dashed. So, if the Sharks stumble and regress tonight, doesn’t Doug Wilson have to consider making that trade of forward depth for another quality puck mover to balance out the roster?
I think the Sharks are riding high, and while the Ducks have been hot winning 7 out of 8, they still aren’t very good on the road. In January, the Ducks are 5-0 at home but a meager 2-3 on the road. Last time I checked, the Sharks have thumped the Ducks four times this year, winning in regulation every time by a total score of 16-6. I expect the Sharks to win a close one without Boyle. Sharks 4 Ducks 2 in regulation. Everything remains right in the world.
GENERAL HOCKEY NEWS
I guess Bob Gainey has carte blanche to do anything he wants in Montreal without any consequence? This latest move from the outside seems pretty tacky, sending enforcer Georges Laraque home and banishing him from the team while he is dealing with the tragedy in Haiti. It’s not just the tackiness of the move, it’s the fact that Gainey gave Laraque a three deal deal with a no movement clause. Who does that with an enforcer? Bob Gainey does. He is one more move away from approaching Mike Milbury status in my book, and it could come when he trades Halak, clearly the better goalie, for some sort of spare part. Good luck Canadiens fans. You’re going to be mediocre for a long time as long as Gainey is running the show. He’s turned into the Don Nelson of hockey. “Sorry Georges. We will tolerate Alex Kovalev’s mediocrity and the illegal gambling of the Kostitsyn’s, but when you underperform on my watch – you’re toast!”. What a joke.