There I sit, typing away, feeling I have come up with some thing that no one else has even considered. Then Ron Wilson has to shatter my hopes when I check for news on the Leafs shortly before posting, Grabovski had been moved to the top line.
How inconsiderate… Wait, does this mean I could fill in as coach?
Oh well, I guess I should be happy that the Leafs are now icing lines that are yet to be tried. Or should I be concerned that they are trying lines I also thought up in a late night stupor?
Regardless, this line should have been tried much, much earlier, I would say after 3 weeks of Bozak struggling and about a week after Kessel started his hide and seek routine.
I would even go out on a limb and call it a successful experiment. The combo generated 2 goals and had plenty of sustained pressure; the only negative was Grabbo’s dismal work on faceoffs, 25% on Saturday night. This is something that can be worked on, I would strongly suggest dumping or benching Mitchell and recalling Zigomanis to help Grabbo learn the trade, mainly because the current staff does not seem able to help him.
That and any reason to get Mitchell out of the lineup is worth a try.
For the bulk of the season so far Grabbo has been the hardest working Leaf and now he is seeing results. With 7 points in his last 6 games and a team leading +7 on the season this promotion to the top line is a no brainer. You could argue whether his is truly top line material, but it will take a few games to see what he can do. For some players all that is needed is an opportunity.
When he first arrived from Montreal I was excited, the Leafs had been without a slick and energetic European point producer since the lockout. (Sundin was just all around good and strong, not fast and slick) But soon after getting a contract extension Grabbo pulled a Kovalev last year and sat back a little.
This year Grabbo seems to have decided he doesn’t want to follow the Frolov, Kovalev, Yashin route as he showed up ready to go full tilt from day one of camp. I said it when he first arrived, this kid has 30 goal potential and I stand by that to this day, maybe not yet, but 1-3 years at most. If he can stay healthy and keeps his current work ethic this season could start to turn his image around.
It is up to Bozak and Kadri to pick up the slack right now, but until they get some confidence and work a little harder every shift it will all be on Grabovski to keep the team moving.
Who would have expected that a month ago?