Thursday, December 18, 2008

New lines released: Bass up, Lee down, Zubov out

According to Sportsnet, the Sens have released line combinations for the Sens' game Friday against the New Jersey Devils:

Vermette - Fisher - Alfredsson
Foligno - Kelly - Heatley
Ruutu - Spezza - Neil
Schubert - Bass - Donovan

According to the same report, Ilya Zubov will not be making the trip because his work visa has expired (how does a professional hockey team let that happen?), Jesse Winchester has an upper-body injury and didn't travel with the team, either, and Dean McAmmond is close to returning after a bout with pneumonia that has kept him out of the lineup for nine games. Which is why Christoph Schubert is dressing as a forward, and why Cody Bass was recalled from Binghamton.

I get that there are people who don't like the way Jason Spezza plays. But he's not a third-line player. He's been playing harder then I remember ever having seen him play before, but maybe this is just a sign for him to wake up and start generating--and capitalizing on--his own scoring chances. But playing him with Chris Neil? That's just not fair. Jarkko Ruutu can at least receive a pass, but I don't understand the idea behind putting Spezza with a couple guys who can hardly finish plays at all. If he is going to succeed, he's got to keep it simple: Send the puck to the front of the net, and hope that--if it doesn't go in on his shot or a deflection--Neil and Ruutu are right there to hammer home some garbage.

On defence, Anton Volchenkov is back from his injury. I guess they had to special-order some replacement pieces from Russia or something, because the robot had missed two games with his lower-body injury. As a result, Brian Lee is back to Binghamton after a solid two-game stint with the O-Sens.

I guess we'll see how it all works out. Hopefully one of the lines steps up and scores a freakin' goal.
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