I wish I had something brilliant to put in this space but frankly, at this point I am sick and tired of preseason and ready for the real puck to drop. Sure, the final cuts still have to be made but those are just tweaks. Frankly, if it was me I would keep everyone that is left into the first two weeks of the season, then return MDZ and Geno Grachev to junior after their nine games are up (if they play more, they need a real contract that would count against the cap).
Don't get me wrong, both are highly talented and will be NHLers, but both can be replaced for this season, so why rush them? Detroit has built a dynasty by letting their prospects gestate as long as possible. And, let's face it, if there is a blueprint to follow, the Wings' is the best out there.
There really isn't much of a difference in MDZ's and Bobby Sanguinetti's performance. Sure MDZ has been drooled over by the announcers and has shown a fearlessness with the puck but Bobby can do everything that the kid can do, and he has more experience to rely upon when times get tough. Grachev definitely has the size edge on Enver Lisin but Lisen has shown a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Not to mention his breakaway speed ...
I'm sure we will see plenty of all four players over the remaining two preseason games. Honestly, I think they are just ridiculous money grabs for the franchises. Everyone showed up to camp in shape, so what are seven games needed for? Hank has said he wants to play both games but to what end? Why risk an injury at this point? What is to be gained that can't be flushed out in the four days of practice between the second Caps game and the opener in Pittsburgh?
The only thing that I can think of - in terms of benefits from the remaining preseason games - is that now Tortorella has all of his ingredients, he will get to play with his chemistry set. Everyone online is trying their hand at creating a monster for the playoffs and Torts will get to do it for real.
My unsolicited opinion? The offense is a lot like what they practiced with today, just with a few changes:
Voros-Boyle-Brashear (vs. the Pens, Devils, Ducks and Leafs in Toronto)
Voros-Anisimov-Grachev (vs. the Sens, Caps, Kings and Leafs at home)
The defense would be totally different; I wouldn't retard Gilroy's development by putting him with Redden, as Renney stunted Girardi's growth last season in that manner - same with Staal/Rozy. So I would go with:
Yes, I put Semenov rotating with Rozy. If Torts wants to claim accountability, we can dream of a day when he follows up on it - contracts be damned. Like I said, dream ... it will be put to the test soon enough.
Oh, before I get outta here, I wanted to send congrats out to Manny Malhotra for getting a job with the Jed and the Sharks, and congrats to Olie the Goalie for a job well done. The comparisons between him and Adam Graves are well warranted - both worked tirelessly for their teams and their community and both were unceremoniously dumped by said teams. Both will go down as all-time fan favourites with numbers in the rafters. Good luck to the goalie so big in net - both in size and in demeanor - that they named him Godzilla.