A Nice Problem To Have

There was a time when Ottawa was flush with right wingers.  Alfredsson, Hossa, Havlat, all of them of the “elite” calibre, but lately, RW has been a patch work of 3rd and 4th liners.

This has created a serious drop off in scoring depth.  Fisher, who himself is a fringe 2nd liner, is a capable top six centre, if provided with talented offensive wingers.  Without them, he’s a 3rd liner, and struggles mightily to provide even a modicum of offense.

Suddenly however, Ottawa has a new problem (should they be so lucky as to have it last), too many good forwards.  For the first time in years, Ottawa may actually have players legitimately competing to play on the 2nd line, or even the 1st line vs. competing to not get kicked off of it.  Fisher, Comrie, Shannon and Foligno have all proven to have the skill to, when combined, provide legitimate 2nd line offense.  The other nice part is the fact that 3 of the 4 are natural centres, and, apart from Foligno, all can play either wing.  We’re talking versatility, skill, and…more bodies then we need.  Imagine, actual legitimate competition!

This environment of competition, in my opinion, cannot be dismissed.  I firmly believe healthy competition breeds improved play, and some of what this team has been suffering from has been a lack of internal competition.  Too often, when a goal was needed, the first line was double shifted, leaving many other players feeling over-looked.  Paddock was guilty of this, Hartsburg was guilty of this, but so far Clouston has been prepared to spread out the ice time among the forwards (albeit, the big 3 still get their share, Alfie first among them).  With Comrie, Shannon, Fisher, Foligno, Spezza, and Heatley all looking for minutes (Alfie ALWAYS earns minutes), they now know Clouston will distribute them to those earning them… that’s healthy competition.

I’m going to avoid getting to caught up in the play-off frenzy, mainly because I just can’t accept it as being a real possibility.  I’m more than willing to be proven wrong, in fact I double dog dare them to prove me wrong…

I’m simply enjoying the calibre of hockey I’m seeing lately…anything else is gravy!


2 Responses to “A Nice Problem To Have”

  1. The thing is .. from what I hope or think is the case.. the sport of full of Shannons, Winchesters and Campolis. It is a game of trial and error. So it may not be the case that there won’t be new players at all. (See Blake Wheeler too for another example). So there is no question that a good farm system and active scouting will help find and develop such players. It is likley that we will see a top two defenseman and may be another player via trade. The top two defenseman may be a rental player brougt in later in the year ..

  2. Every year see’s “out of nowhere” performers, look at Burrows. No doubt Murray will be looking for a top pairing Dman, but it will be a tough hole to fill.

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