Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dupuis out, the next Robbie Brown up?

JB brings it, as usual...Pascal Dupuis is out tonight and Chris Minard (7 goals in 7 AHL games) is up with the big Penguins...

If Minard does get the spot on Crosby's line, people will scoff. They'll say Pittsburgh must be desperate if they're putting a career minor leaguer in that role. They'll note that Minard is 26 and was never drafted and played in places like Pensacola, San Angelo and Anchorage on his way to the AHL. That, to me, is snobbery at best and bigotry at worst. What difference does it make where he came from? If he can play, he can play.

People will say Minard is too slow to keep up with Crosby, but that's not true. When WBS did its skills competition last year, Minard was second in the fastest skater contest, by one-thousandth of a second, to Jonathan Filewich. He can skate.

I'm not saying Minard is going to become an NHL all-star. In fact, I wonder if he can get his shot off against stronger, quicker NHL defensemen. But he's done everything he's been asked to do the last year-plus. At a time when the parent club's offense is struggling, it's worth giving him a chance in a scoring role. Who knows? He could become Crosby's Robbie Brown.

We would advocate giving Minard a shot with Crosby. In the lockout year, Minard played with Scotty Gomez in Alaska of the "East" Coast Hockey league and scored 49 goals in 69 games. Granted, the level of talent was no where near NHL caliber, but the stats are what they are; no one else on that team had more than 28 goals. Gomez incidentially went an Adam Oates-esque 13g, 73a in 61 games if you were wondering.

Dupuis was practicing with Crosby before leaving practice after being hit with a puck, so it would reduce the line juggling at least to slide him into the vacated slot. HCMT, of all people, of course is not afraid to switch everything up though, so who the hell knows what the lines may look like come 10 PM eastern tonight. Minard can shoot and he’s proven can play with a premier playmaking center in Gomez, why not give him a crack, if only for a night, to see if he can do it at the NHL level.

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