Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gillis Talking out of Both Sides of his Mouth

Don't let the title fool you, I both support and admire Mike Gillis' ability to be contradictory.  In my opinion he has pride and knows how to politic with the best and those are both necessary in the world of the NHL GM.

We all recall Gillis stating he wouldn't change his team based on the series with Boston.  We've all seen the list of offensively capable tough guys brought in this season. He's at it again!

One of the Boston Bruins' strengths was the gritt and offensive capability of their fourth line.  One of the Canucks' greatest weaknesses was the revolving door of a fourth line that never had an identity or specific use.

Last year Shawn Thornton may have been the catalyst to launch the Bruins to a cup win after falling back 0-2 in the finals.  He had 20 points in 79 games as a fourth liner to go with 122 PIMs.  Centering that fourth line was Gregory Campbell (who arguably had an even bigger impact for other off-ice reasons we won't get in to), a Florida Panthers cast-off who had an impressive 29 points in 80 games for the B's last year and 93 PIMs.  This duo dominated the Canucks and allowed B's coach Claude Julien to roll four lines, keeping his troops fresh as the injurty depleted Canucks withered.

With the addition/invite of Mike Duco (like Campbell another Panther cast-off), Steve Pinizzotto picked up from Washingson, Matt Clackson more of a pure thug and grizzly vet Owen Nolan on a non-roster invite it's obvious Mike Gillis hopes to attain the same from his own line.

Duco was a four time 20 goal scorer in major junior and reached the plateau in the AHL last season to go along with 126 PIMs. Steve Pinizzotto is coming off back-to-back 40+ point seasons in Hershey and can more than handle himself.  Add incumbent Victor Oreskovich to the mix and it's obvious that fourth line grit and conistency have been tabbed as a must-have this season.

It seems Oreskovich is penciled in to a fourth line wing position.  His strength and speed will be a huge asset on any fourth line.  It looks like Duco and Pinnizotto may be destined to platoon the other side with Max Lapiere in the middle.

Will this be enough to win one more game this seaosn? 

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