Contrary to what I said earlier, it doesn’t sound like a recall from Hartford to replace Blair Betts is imminent.
(For the record, you’re right: “whopper” may be overstating things. Let’s call this a Whopper Jr. with cheese.)
And if ever there was a time to call someone up, it would be tonight since the Wolf Pack are literally across the parking lot playing the Phantoms at the Spectrum (Greg Moore Highway? Get that guy a golf cart!). Tom Renney said he first wants to see how Ryan Hollweg fares tonight, but the coach also expressed some reticence in bringing in a new body when both Hollweg and Petr Prucha have already been waiting for their opportunity to get back in the lineup.
That said, if it turns out Betts will be out for longer than two weeks and a Greg Moore or someone else is needed for the playoffs, Renney said he would want that player up for the final few games of the regular season.
Some other notes:
<li>There is also the option of dropping Martin Straka down to center in the near future and slipping in Prucha in Straka’s old spot on the third line. That would be a more likely option if not for the fact that “Straka alongside Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan has recently been showing signs of life”:www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080321/SPORTS01/803210390/-1/SPORTS. Callahan and Sean Avery also have experience playing center, but the same concerns about disrupting chemistry apply.
<li>It’s worth also noting that the fourth line in general has been seeing less ice time over the last few games, anyway, and this might cost the unit even more. The one real drawback there is the need to maximize Fred Sjostrom, who has been one of the team’s best forwards the past few games. Don’t be surprised if Renney starts mixing Sjostrom in on other lines on occasions.
I also wouldn’t be surprised to Sjostrom see some time on the penalty kill, although for now, Renney will primarily cut his PK rotation down to five forwards (Drury, Brendan Shanahan, Straka, Callahan, and Scott Gomez).