Quick Shift: Berube's Excuses to Scratch MDZ Have Expired >
 
 

by Michael DeNicola


Wednesday, December 31, 2014 --



Prior to Monday's game, Berube told the beat writers that he *wants* to get Del Zotto in the lineup, "but the defense is playing so well that he doesn't want to take anyone out."

That wildly erroneous excuse is no longer usable, even more-so now. 

I hate beating a dead horse. And I certainly don't want to give the impression that I believe Del Zotto is the difference between a lotto pick and a Stanley Cup. But this blueline is going nowhere. It's a lost element on an already broken roster. And it's the worst anchor on any payroll in the entire NHL. 

We don't know if Del Zotto is a future piece to this defense. But one thing is certain: we won't know unless he's given a legitimate chance -- and that begins with starting & keeping him in the fucking lineup. This team's missing Timonen big time. It's missing his mobility. And although I don't ever expect MDZ to come close to Timonen's effectiveness, we at least need to begin icing his traits on a gamely basis. 

Throw Colaiacovo in there while we're at it. I dunno about any of you, but I cannot even begin to describe how ready I am to see MacDonald and Grossmann take a permanent seat on the scratch list. A-Mac's crotch-kicking contract keeps him stapled on our payroll and our problem for a long, long time. Grossmann, on the other hand, is movable... and should be dealt sooner than later.... as soon as humanly possible. 


The Del Zotto dilemma is only a microcosm of my concern over Craig Berube as this team's head coach. No, I don't expect anyone to coach this roster to Cup glory; not the way it's structured. But I do expect better decision-making with available assets. We've seen Berube crumble mobile defensemen before: Erik Gustafsson, who has since flipped our organization the middle finger and took off for the KHL. We saw Berube's questionable usage with Gostisbehere in his limited time up in The Show. And now this ongoing drama with Del Zotto which only mocks my rationale. There's a pattern here, and it leads to my concern with how a guy like Berube will cater to the development of our defensive prospects who'll inevitably be cracking the roster within 1 - 3 years. Perhaps, by then, Chief will have already gotten his walking papers? 


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