Letâ€™s Hope It Doesnâ€™t Come Down To â€œPlan Dâ€
â€œPlan Aâ€ has proven fruitless, â€œPlan Bâ€ is growing less likely by the minute, and â€œPlan Câ€ requires a youngster to prove capable of carrying a big load.
â€œPlan D?â€ Well, letâ€™s just hope it doesnâ€™t come down to this.
Weâ€™ve all seen what Pascal Dupuis has done in a scoring line role with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Thereâ€™s his lightning speed, his tenacious forecheck, his cannon of a slapshotâ€¦
â€¦and his stone hands.
But what can you expect from a third liner who has been miscast in a scoring line role?
Dupuis has fared quite well and has carved a niche for himself to the point that he had a career year last season and doesnâ€™t look like a fish out of water anymore. But donâ€™t be confused, an upgrade would be nice.
And thatâ€™s why â€œPlan Dâ€ is so troubling.
If you, like many, have reached for that brick to hurl at your TV when Dupuis botched a perfect pass from Crosby, you might want to spend the rest of the summer working out, as the cinder block youâ€™ll need for â€œPlan Dâ€ might get heavy quickly.
So what is â€œPlan D?â€
Tyler Kennedy and/or Matt Cooke.
Okay, so itâ€™s not like I suggested the return of Janne Pesonen or Nils Ekman, but letâ€™s be honest here, a trio of Crsoby, Dupuis and Kennedy/Cooke reads much more like a third line than a legitimate scoring threat.
Like Eric Tangradi, mentioned yesterday as one of the â€œPlan Câ€ options, Kennedy is a polarizing figure.
Thereâ€™s a large group that feel his underutilized and that, given increased ice time and better linemates, he would be the prototypical scoring line wing.
Iâ€™d like to have some of what theyâ€™re smoking.
Then thereâ€™s the segment of the fanbase that sees him for what he is: an average, streaky third liner who, to borrow a line from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, â€œis a one trick pony.â€ When the puck touches his stick, he shoots. Period. End of story.
That would be an awesome strategy if he was playing with grenades. But heâ€™s not, and so itâ€™s not. Quite simply, Kennedy would be an anchor on a scoring line, dragging down its overall value. And thatâ€™s bad news.
As for Cooke, well heâ€™s polarizing too, but for completely different and completely obvious reasons. That being said, â€œOld Cookeâ€ appears to be gone and has been replaced by â€œNew Cooke,â€ or as I call him â€œDiet Cooke.â€ Heâ€™s lost his edge, and with that, heâ€™s lost a significant amount of his physicality. Without that, heâ€™s no different than any other player.
Sure, he put the puck in the net with a bit more frequency last season than he has in the past, but simply scoring goals isnâ€™t always an indication of how well a player would fit on a scoring line. If that was the case Michele Ouellet wouldnâ€™t have had to seek employment as the Geico caveman following his departure from the Penguins a few years back.
While I suppose one of Kennedy or Cooke wouldnâ€™t be terrible in the short term on a scoring line, sharing the ice with Dupuis in such a role would be cause for major concern.
And thatâ€™s why we need to be hoping that one of the other two fallback plans works.