Finally, Mr. Milk Carton, Michael Ryder has been dropped from the first line. Luckily he stumbled only to the third line, where he will try to rekindle his scoring prowess with vet Smolinsky in the middle and spark plug Steve Begin on the opposite wing. In his place, Greek Lighting will be playing with Cap'n Saks and HF10's Boy Chris Higgins, where the latter two will no doubtedly benefit from the removal of the curse that was Mikey Ryder. We know Greek Lightening is going to out-work Ryder, but are we to believe that he will provide better finish for Messrs. Saks and Higgins?
I say this: give Grabs a chance! We'll see if he can do what Big Tits did when he joined two scoring-type linemates - partners that can take advantage of his skill level. Grabs has not been given any quality ice time or two scoring linemates as of yet. He has shows flashes, both of offensive wizardry and defensive laziness, on the third and forth lines. But doesn't that sound like a certain former memeber of the (former) top line? Wait, I guess maybe not so much the wizardry...but certainly the defence. The difference is, there is real upside to giving Grabs a chance to play with the big boys. Besides, Saks and Higgins know how to play defense, too, so there's not a huge defensive risk with Grabs there.
Besides, Grabs strikes me as a player who likes the limelight. Remember last year in his first ever call up when the Habs were suffering through the Great Flu Epidemic of '07? Remember his breakaway against the Rangers last year? (Anyone know what language those guys are speaking? I'd really like to know.) He was terrific in that game. Giving him a legitimate shot at playing on the top line might give Grabby a shot at the limelight again.
Obviously he tailed off in his second game and was rightfully sent back down. But he succeeded in Hamilton (although perhaps not dominant with the 'Dogs), and then he stuck with the big club out of camp this year. He rotated for a while with Big Tits, but since Big Tits is playing like he has a big pair, Grabby's been the odd man out.
Grabs just seems like he can make something happen out there, just not on a consistent basis - yet, we hope. But, like TheTenderness before him, perhaps some of the top line's talent and intensity will rub off on young Mr. Grabovsky. Maybe when Grabby can rely on better linemates and finds himself in more offensive situations as a result, he can use his skills to create or finish plays that ol' Milk Carton couldn't.
Clearly the Habs do have other options. Smols, Latendresse, maybe even Begin - they'd all bring something to the first line's proverbial table. But I don't think anyone else on the roster has as much upside as Grabs (outside of the the members of "The Line Formerly Known as The Second," and there is no way you break those guys up right now).
No one else - at least on the Habs roster. I do believe there is room on the roster for one (pair of??) Little Tits, Mr. Gainey.
But let's give Grabby a chance first.