Thanks God !! Yeeeahhhh !
I hope Don Lever wont screw it by keeping Grabovski and Kostitsyn splitted.
They'll probably get a couple of shifts together but I doubt they will play any major stretch of the game together. As I've said before, Kostitsyn is a key player for the Dogs, he is required to be on the ice a lot as a result of that. Grabovski as yet isn't. Sometimes he has looked good and sometimes he has struggled to find his feet. If Kostitsyn and Grabovski play together you are forcing Grabs to play more minutes than he likely would normally. Yes, Kostitsyn and Grabovski can play some nice hockey together, but they have never done so in the AHL, to which Grabs is still getting accostomed to. He has to be given time to settle into the league, like Perezhogin did in the AHL and like Latendresse requires at the moment in the NHL (although I don't think the AHL is as big a step for Grabs as the NHL for Lats).
Locke and Kostitsyn have shown some promising moments so far this season when playing together so give them some time (assuming you want Grabs at centre). And as for the other wing, hopefully everyone will get a chance to see D'agostini as the other player on that line as in the last game, they looked good late on.
I'm not Don Levers biggest fan, but the idea that he is somehow screwing things up by not playing Kost and Grabs together seems a bit over the top to me.
Well at the VERY least, put them on the same PP line. That way you give Grabovsky a teammate who he's comfortable with, to find chemistry with and know for sure he can be a dominant force offensively in the AHL.
Btw Qui Gon Dave, how was Matt D'Agostini? Was his goal pretty? Does he deserve quality ice time?
He looked very good in the last game, not afraid to get stuck into the other team. He isn't going to knock people over and send them flying very often, but he seems more than willing to get in their way and make life difficult for anyone not wearing the same jersey as him (reminded me a little bit of Chris Higgins - but this is only based off one game so its not exactly an in depth study). He uses his speed well at both end of the rink and has the ability to take the puck from his own end to the other teams end. Created a few good chances, mainly for himself. He doesn't create them so much through skill and finesse (although there are elements of those things) but more through speed and determination. His goal was perhaps worthy of a highlight reel if only for the effort he put into it. It wasn't fluid, he didn't make a breath-taking move, but his determination got him a goal and it was ALL his own work. He got the puck in the neutral zone (short-handed too), forced his way into the offensive zone, got a shot away but the puck ended up behind the net. He fought past his marker, chased the puck behind the net, battled to strip the defenseman of it, held him off as he drove to the front of the net nd managed to put a low backhand in from the top of the crease. It wasn't the second coming of Denis Savard, but it was a goal you'd certainly enjoy seeing scored for your team.
As for quality ice time, I listened to the first game, he didn't play the 2nd and then watched the third and he seems to be improving quickly so far. Him and Kostitsyn were our main offensive threats in the last game. Based on the small sample of what he has managed to do so far, I'd say he deserves a fair amount of minutes each game. Maybe not every game as he is still at the bottom of the learning curve in the AHL, but he deserves a chance to prove himself on the top lines if he keeps his level of play up at the level it was in the last game. Hopefully he hasn't done anything in training to stop Lever giving him a big chance like he got towards the end of the last game (playing with Locke/Kost).
Lever says yes (i think). He could have sounded more convincing but it seems like they will be. Kost has been playing the right point in PP training this week too, alongside Benoit, Locke, Milroy and someone else up front.