“He’s a great player, a great guy. I’m sorry he got hurt. Hopefully, he’ll get back as soon as possible.” ~ Mika Zibanejad
I'm not a superstitious person but maybe it's time that Peter Regin considers making the switch back to #43.
After posting three assists in his first three preseason appearances, it had appeared that Regin had established himself as the likely candidate for Ottawa's vacant second line center spot. However, with six preseason games down and one to go, any hopes for a competitive internal contest for that role have been shelved for the time being thanks to an injury.
Although the severity of the damage to Regin's surgically repaired shoulder isn't known, any prolonged absence will curb talk that Zibanejad should be returned to the Swedish Elite League for another season.
As entertaining as Zibanejad's flashes of talent have been in the preseason, he hasn't been great but he hasn't looked overwhelmed either. He's probably done enough to earn that illustrious 9-game regular season window of opportunity that rookies are afforded before the first year of their entry-level contract kicks in, but if Regin isn't healthy by the time that period ends, you might as well pencil #93 in for the remainder of the season.
While I do realize and readily acknowledge the merit to the philosophy that "If these guys can play now, play them", I wouldn't have had any problems stomaching the status quo and incumbent veterans if it means a better opportunity to stock the system and give the organization a better chance to contend down the road. From an asset management perspective, I've already outlined the reasons why it would be prudent to return Zibanejad to the SEL, so that's why I'm hoping that the injury to Regin isn't that serious.
While the NHL hasn't ruled on whether Chris Neil will face supplementary discipline for this hit on Mikhail Grabovski, from this video footage, Neil's motives definitely look suspect. Having watched it a few times, I don't believe that this was an example of incidental contact. However, after learning that Colin Campbell could not find enough supporting evidence to discipline Wayne Simmonds for his 'alleged' homophobic slur, any fears that the league could accurately interpret a video and suspend Neil have been quelled.
In the event that Neil is suspended, I think Kaspars Daugavins could be a suitable third or fourth line replacement player.
Tim and I got into this a little bit during the most recent podcast episode but Bobby Butler is now tied with David Rundblad with a team-worst +/- rating of -4. As a forward who is renowned for 'being a goal scorer', Butler is adept at finding openings and putting himself in a position to score. Unfortunately, the rest of his play away from the puck leaves something to be desired. Looking down the road, one has to wonder whether Butler's the kind of player who can be a top six forward on this team once it's closer to being a competitive club.
Much like ScotiaBank Place's scoreboard, Spezza's +/- rating of -3 is a bit of an eyesore but it's his glaring turnover inside the defensive zone blueline that has been the focus of much of the post-game discussion.
Nevertheless, had either of Spezza's linemates converted on any of the four or five scoring opportunities that he set them up on in the first period, the complexion of the game would have changed completely.