Thread: Bortuzzo
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02-01-2013, 10:41 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
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Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to watch the Pens-Rags game the other night, but saw some video and read some reports. But the main thing is: people need to be realistic with Bortuzzo. A better example of how he could perform (at least as a rookie) at this level came last season when he was called up, and before he got injured. He showed some very good things (especially size, reach, a willingness to be physical, and a surprising ability to even jump into the play offensively on the rush).

But if you guys are going to micro-analyse the guy right now, that's not a good thing. He's a guy whose shot should have come much earlier this year (he should have been inserted before Lovejoy ever was), and thus has not seen ANY game action for several weeks now, and none at the NHL level since last season. I certainly hope he will become a fixture on the blueline this season, and that's the silver lining about injuries like Nisky's, but given where Bort has been at with no game action, I would say you would have to give the guy a minimum of 7 or 8 games of (or 2 to 3 weeks) of continually being in the line-up before making any assessments of his play.

And even then, there will still be some growing pains. We can't all of a sudden shift and have 4 or 5 rookies (plus Letang) comprising our top-6. Given that Bort has good upside, can't be sent through waivers, and won't develop in the press box, I think they need to get him into game action, even at the expense of Despres. The problem: the Martin-Orpik (left) and (when healthy) Letang-Niskanen (left) have been good, but I'm not so sure Engelland -- who also deserves to stay in the line-up -- will work well on the left side. So ultimately, if Bort is to remain in the line-up, we may have to see Orpik and Martin broken up, with Paul going back to the left side and one of those 2 paired with Bort and the other paired with Engelland.

The catch on that is that Martin would have to maintain his better performance with being on the left side and with another partner. It's all very complicated because so much of the decisions are intertwined and conditional about other things. That is why it is easy to see why they were going so hard after Suter, and not because Shero has a D fetish like with the drafting; but rather to give Letang a legit, NHL ready top-pairing, left-side partner to play with to slot everyone else down to find the right pairings. They're experimenting right now to see if Despres is ready to be the next Suter, but I don't think he's quite there yet.

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