Note: Today is the 17th of August. We’re about a week away from when the guys start showing up for what Chris Pronger described as “dipsy doodle stuff.” Prongs hated that week or two before camp which is essentially pond or no contact hockey. If players are slow coming in, expect a lockout on the 15th.
CSNWashington caught up with Gabby at his hockey school in St. Catherines. Here’s the link if you want to skip my babble and get straight to it.
Here are the hilites:
CSNW: WHAT ABOUT THE ROSTER MAKEUP?
BB: Well, I love our goalie [Jonas Hiller]. We have some good youth on defense along with some good veterans. We’ve gotten bigger and we’ve also gotten a little deeper [with the additions of Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen this offseason] so it will be easier to adjust to injuries.
Up front we’ve still got Bobby Ryan, Teemu [Selanne], Corey [Perry] and [Ryan] Getzlaf. What we’ve also done [this offseason] is we’ve added veteran third and fourth liners [Daniel Winnick and Brad Staubitz] which we never had last year so now we’ve got some pretty good depth. When you add all of those things together, hopefully we’ll make some noise in the West.
Yes our Ducks could make some noise because this roster is much closer to resembling the roster that earned 4th seed and home ice advantage in the 2011 playoff. We’re tougher and as Gabby notes, we have depth.
FAN QUESTION: WHICH WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE AS A FIRST LINE- OVECHKIN-BACKSTROM-SEMIN OR PERRY-GETZLAF-RYAN? (@TheBusinessOfCrappiness)
BB: Well, they’re different kinds of players. For the most part the Anaheim [No.1] line is missing a piece. Bobby Ryan I didn’t play as much with Perry and Getzlaf so that top line isn’t as complete as it maybe was in Washington with a Semin or a [Troy] Brouwer or [two or three seasons ago] a Mike Knuble playing with Alex and Nicky.
But whether they play together or not, [Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan] are all gamers, they come to play every night, they play both ends of the ice and they’re all really good players. There’s a reason why Corey Perry won the Hart [Trophy as league MVP in 2010-11] and there’s a reason why Getzlaf is a captain and why he’s wanted by everybody even though he didn’t score a lot of goals last year (a career-low 11 goals in 82 games). But he’s similar to Nicky- a fabulous passer and a little bit of a bigger centerman.
Is Coach saying Getz is what he is and don’t expect him to change his game?
Corey Perry doesn’t have the charisma that Ovi has, but he certainly has the compete level so I think [in Washington and Anaheim] we’re both searching right now for that other winger to complete a top line.
That we haven’t found a consistent spot and role for Bobby Ryan in his four years with the team is just wrong. Regardless Silver has done everything asked of him. Now, finally, he’ll be expected to anchor a line and the 2nd unit PP. This is about 2 years overdue but better late than never.
The decision opens up 3 roster spots. First is LW on the top line and two vying to be Bobby Ryan’s line mates.
Coach has lots of options:
Look for one of Andrew Cogliano, Devante Smith-Pelly, Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri or Patrick Maroon alongside Getz/Pears. Holland or Bonino and one of the above wingers will lineup alongside Silver.
If the kids can’t hang with Ryan, look for him to step in with Koivu/Selanne while we create a checking line on Bonino/Winnick.
FAN QUESTION: HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE FOUR CAPABLE CENTERS IN ANAHEIM? (@robostop10)
BB: We have depth up the middle and that’s important. I like our centermen a lot and we have options for next season. [Last year’s No.2 center] Saku Koivu is going to be our third line center next year and he’ll be a solid checking center that can score. It’s an important position, and an important position to have options. Like I said, we still want to find a winger, but I like our centers, for sure.
The two keys up the middle are Holland and McMillan. Bones is ready as a checking line center at minimum. Is Holland ready to step in on the Ryan line? If not, Bonino centers Ryan, Holland starts in Norfolk and a hopefully humble McMillan or perhaps Cogliano will center a line.
Winnick and Cogliano are the usual leading suspects to line up with the Finn Twins.
A notion I find intriguing is pairing Cogs with Getz/Pears. A couple-3 years ago RC tried Dan Sexton there in training camp and the results raised eyebrows. It could work if Getzlaf played more of a slot to slot game while Cogliano is the guy who chases down the pucks and buys time on the perimeter.
For a kinder look at Getzlaf go here. I disagree with the premise but not the facts, most good players rebound from off years, especially in a contract year. I was kind of surprised Joe Sakic didn’t make that list. If Getz gets back to 25 goals and 82 points, I’ll forgive the face offs, giveaways and stupid penalties.