Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dear Lord Therrien, re: Colby Armstrong

I know today is supposed to be Hockey Youtube Madness day, but let me bend your ear for a moment, Oh Somewhat Exalted Lord Therrien.

What the heck, dude? I know, I know, you're trying to shuffle the lines to figure out who works best together, but don't you think that you should be saving the severe musical chairs for practices? And really, could you not take it out on poor Colby Armstrong, who's been a scratch for three games straight and isn't going to get any better if you keep him off the ice?
After all, compare last year's Army to what you've seen of him this year. Last year he couldn't have told you where anyone else was on the ice if they had been wearing construction vests and he had a map. This year, in that first game on VS against Atlanta, I swear to god, I saw him shovel one almost blindly back at Sid. Tell me he hasn't improved his rink awareness, Lord Therrien. With a straight face.

Tell me also, then, that people didn't credit him with going out and absolutley tearing it up in the first period of one of hte first games this season. Or stopping a puck with his face against the Leafs on October 12, Or laying his body on the line twice to stop pucks during the Canes game on the 19th. And, Lord T, please PLEASE tell me that you're not forgetting that he scored his first point this year three games into the season at the Oct 6th home opener against Anaheim, instead of waiting for 23 games to score two the way he did last year.

Obviously, Lord T, you have to realize that Army's never going to be one of your big scorers. That's why you have Sidney Crosby. But Army's gonna hold the team together in more ways than one, especially now that he's stepped it up. And you're not rewarding him for stepping it up in the offseason by benching him for three games straight.

Also, please pause to consider... Perhaps he's playing more timidly this year because of all that Downie/Jones crap going on. Yes, I do jump in to defend Army's big hits more than is strictly healthy, but even I will admit that Steve Downie v. Dean McAmmond:

does look eerily like Armstrong v. Eaves:

the big difference being that Downie jumped into it, while Army just skated through the hit. But that's beside the point (and a whole barrel of monkeys that I've defended enough times before). What IS the point is that my guess, Lord T, is that Army KNOWS that he's got a reputation for the behind-the-net-questionably-legal hits, what with Koivu and Eaves and even Letowski, (although he was a neutral-zone takedown). With all the Downie/Jones mess going on, I'm thinking that Army KNOWS he's going to be a target the first time he wails on someone like that this season, and he hasn't yet figured out the balance between playing his brand of physical in your face hockey and not getting chucked out of the game and penalized for being Steve Downie Jr.

I guess what I'm really trying to say, Lord T, in more words than strictly needed, is just let the guy play some hockey? He's great in your penalty kill lines, and every once in a while he's got the ability to be in the right place at the right time, and frankly, you need all of that you can get right now.

If he's not back in the line for this Saturday's game versus the Flyers, I swear to you, all those spitballs you find in your thinning hair will be from me, and pure fury will have propelled them all the way down there from the end of the rink. If I can't come yell at you about your line decisions from the safety of the seating section behind the benches, I'll just take unflattering pictures of you with the zoom on the Stalkercam 80000000.

I'm not risking my life walking into the Wachovia wearing a Pens jersey (an Armstrong jersey, no less) purely to see Kennedy play in the NHL or just how bright Fleury's pads are in person. I'm coming to see the entire goddamned team, and my Pens include Colby Armstrong.

Lord T, consider yourself schooled.


(Let's go PENS!)


kristin said...

Oh man, that'd suck if Army didn't play when you're up close and personal with the Stalkercam 80000000!