Despite believing the Sens, and its coaches and management have been outstanding this season, I do have one bone to pick, and it has to do with the shoot-out loss against Buffalo.
Why did McLean not send out Filatov? If in fact he is all about winning the game (as he has preached, and practiced, in the past), am I really supposed to believe Karlsson is the better skilled break-away artist over Filatov?
This isn’t to say that this observation would have been made had Karlsson, or Foligno, or… scored, but, to be fair, I did wonder this the moment Karlsson stepped on the ice.
No doubt the thinking behind this move had to do with rewarding those players Big Mac thought had earned the chance at glory in front of the home crowd, but would it really have hurt team morale if Filatov had received the nod, and been boosted by netting the winner, instead of one of those he did send out?
In fact, allowing Filatov to show his worth might have helped make him feel more a part of this team, more willing/able to do what it seems he has yet been willing/able do in order to move off of the fourth line.
I’m not a Filatov fan, with dreams of grandeur, I have no connection to the kid, no history or vested interest, emotional or otherwise, but, I can’t help but think his playing on the fourth line represents a weakening of the said fourth line, and does little or nothing to improve his game. If the kid can’t make it as a skilled player, for whatever reason, send him down, or cut him loose, but watching him toil, out of place, on the fourth line, then sit on the bench, when his very skill set would be an asset, frustrates me to no end.
Look, I’m no NHL coach, so what do I know, but at the risk of being pegged an arm chair quaterback, I think Filatov is either being misguided, in much the same way as he was in Columbus, or miscast, as a legitimate NHL prospect.
If he isn’t NHL ready, send him down. If he isn’t NHL material, cut him loose. But playing him on the fourth line…honestly, why bother?
And Nikita, to be fair, I ask you, what the hell are you doing to end up on the fourth line? What are you missing, what are you failing to improve, either by effort or development? You can’t be happy in your current situation, and you have before you an absolutely golden opportunity, you will not get a better one in the NHL. Do you want to be an NHL player? If yes, do what is being asked of you, or accept you either can’t, or won’t and move on.
The sword cuts both ways.
ps Since writing this blog (I had not yet posted it), Filatov has been sent down to the AHL, which is fine with me, but, the comment that followed the reasoning of his being sent down, only adds to my confusion.
In commenting on the rationale behind Nikita’s demotion, McLean had this to say;
“It’s a great place for him to get confidence and be a good player,” said MacLean. “I talked to him and I want ‘that player’ here in Ottawa, but right now we’re not getting ‘that player.’
“When he comes up here, he gets a bit tight and tentative. He doesn’t do as much creatively with the puck. That’s what we want him to do, be creative with the puck.”
But you play him on the 4th line, and let him sit during a skill only shoot out?
No doubt there is more to this than I’m able to see from my comfy vantage point, but from this vantage point, it sure seems like a bunch of mixed messages, to me.
And again, Nikita, get your ass in gear, and sh!t or get off the pot, you’re not a kid anymore!