Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Game Day @ Pittsburgh 12/30/08

No time for a long preview today, since I'm on my way to give my money to the Indians (Mohegan Sun). But, tonight's tilt should be a good one. Pittsburgh hasn't exactly been lighting it up lately, so they'll be looking to break their offense open a bit tonight. They may have Crosby and Malkin, two of the top scorers in the game, but they still sit in 7th place in the Eastern Conference. Guess that goes to show how important "quality depth" is. Boston's strength all year has been it's ability to have more than one line going at any one time. It also affords Coach Julien the luxury to "shake things up" if he isn't happy with a certain player. Which brings up the Milan Lucic. Looch has found himself on the third line tonight, after seeing his game tail off the last couple times out. No shots and only one hit the other night just isn't good enough. Julien's message (which seems to already understand) is very clear;Simplify. Lucic is developing into a better and better "skill" player all the time. But if he thinks he can suddenly change his game to that of a finesse player, he's sadly mistaken. As he admits, he needs to play a straight forward game. Up and down his wing, knocking anyone who gets in his way on their arse. When he does that, he makes himself a better player and at the same time, creates space for his line mates. Tough to be the wrecking ball out there for 82 games, I know. But that is how he has to play. My expectation is that he'll take this as a personal affront and make the Pens pay for it. I expect a good solid 8 hit or so performance. I suspect he'll get a few shots on net. And I am almost willing to bet the ranch he finds a dance partner as well. The Pens aren't exactly a brawl happy team though. They have 18 total fights this year....and Eric Goddard has 11 of them. Not sure I want to "waste" Looch on Goddard, but hey, if it helps get his game back on track, I'm fine with it I guess. The one to benefit the most from Milan's demotion (Axe will replace him on the top line) I think, will be Chuck Kobasew. With Lucic playing the Left side with Chuckie and Yelle, I expect Kobasew to get on the board tonight. Those three could cause some mayhem out there, and Chucky is just the kind of player to find the loose change created by all the banging. Would it surprise anyone if Hal Gill is the one to cough it up? Predictions: Bruins win this one, 4-2. Kobasew, Lucic, Kessel and Ryder score. Lucic also picks up an assist on Kobasews goal (probably of the "ugly" variety). Looch drops the gloves, possibly with Goddard, but I'd prefer to see him go with a Matt Cooke type (Maybe he jumps Gill! :) ). Go B's-Kynch

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