it's a bit premature to say it, but i'd like to thank the powers that be for allowing mike keenan to finally realize craig conroy ain't doin' jarome any favours on the top line. while fans, pundits, and bloggers alike have been up-in-arms about it all season, #24 was apparently demoted yesterday to where he can feasibly be effective: the third line.
i'm sure we're all aware that the combinations mike keenan "tries out" in practice may not be the lines we see at any point during a game, but it's still good news that the line blender ended with him swapping his first and third line pivots yesterday. with lombardi out, it absolutely makes sense to have dustin boyd taking some turns with the top unit. additionally, with the way that david "fleury hates me" moss and glenX have been playing of late, i could see them being a steadying influence on the team's oldest player.
the preds are coming off an embarassing shutout loss in vancouver, and i'd imagine them looking to score goals tonight --and lots of them. hopefully miikka got some rest, or (alternately) i look forward to seeing the kid start tonight... either way, i'd imagine 30+ shots directed at the calgary netminder.
i'm also hoping that the upwards trend that gio has taken continues. he looked an awful lot like tomas kaberle on the ice against the coyotes, in his puck movement and mobility... his decision-making looks to have improved in just a few short weeks, which by no means he's done making mistakes. it simply means that, coupled with regehr's "shutdown" skills and dion's "big hits and hard shots" skills, we may have found exactly what the we need in a blueliner. vandermeer and aucoin have also been earning their paycheques ---and hopefully sarich can just settle in for the long-haul. i'm already preferring this defensive corps to last year's, thousandfold.