Columbus, OH –
This was not an inspiring game for the Columbus faithful. With each loss, they see their playoff chances slipping even further away. Although there were bright moments, what matters most is getting the two points in the win column.
Grant Clitsome is proving himself ready to stay at the NHL level with his play on the ice. He gives it his all every shift, every night. He’s impressed the coaches to the point where he led the team in total time on ice against Chicago with 24:37. He’s garnered 2-4-6 in 7 games since being called up from Springfield (AHL). Those totals notwithstanding, the loss doesn’t sit well with him. “I thought we came out strong at the beginning of the game. Some tough bounces didn’t go our way and we didn’t capitalize when we should have.”
In addition to RJ Umberger upending Brent Seabrook, the play of the game had to be recent Springfield call-up Matt Calvert in the 3rd period. He passed the puck to himself, made it through two Chicago defenders before tucking the puck behind Marty Turco. That brought the crowd back nto the game, but to no avail. His puck handling abilities would seem to justify playing him higher up in the line-up than the 4th line.
As Columbus head coach Scott Arniel has shown, he’s not afraid to scratch guys that are not playing well. Kristian Huselius was a glaring case in point this evening. Here’s a thought; scratch Juice and put Andrew Murray on the 4th line with Derek MacKenzie and Jared Boll. You would then have to put young Matt Calvert up on the 2nd line. Let’s see what the kid can do.
Barring that, it’s up to GM Scott Howson to make a change. Ship out a player or two. Let the kids (Calvert/Clitsome, et.al.) show what they can do. They’re hungry and they want to play. They want to show the organization that they belong with the big club. I say, give them the chance. The team, as constructed, is not getting the job done.
They’re not out of it yet. But, they have a very steep hill to climb. The status quo just will not do. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on a deal while some of the tradeable contracts still have value. No one is untouchable, save for Rick Nash.