Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Still searching for a #1 centre
Tyler Bozak returns to the lineup tonight to play along side the Leafs stud scorers, Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. For most games this season it really didn't matter who was at centre. Besides Bozak, we've seen Tim Connolly, Matthew Lombardi, David Steckel, even Joe Coborne for a few shifts. Now that Kessel and Lupul seemed to have cooled off it does matter.
The problem is shuffling around all your centremen won't make much of a difference in the long term. The Leafs just don't have a #1 centre and they've been looking for 3 years. From the time Kessel arrived in Toronto, Brian Burke has been searching for players on his calibre to play with him. Last season Lupul joined Kessel but the job at centre is still open. Last season's low point had to have been when Kessel was playing with Darryl Boyce and Joey Crabb. Not exactly what Kessel was hoping for. In fact, the reserved winger was pissed off enough to complain publicly - for about 20 seconds.
At one point Jeff Carter's name was being bounced around. More recently there was James van Riemsdyk although he is really a left winger. You also hear Ryan Geflatz but Anaheim would prefer that he start scoring over trading him.
So the years go by and Phil Kessel is building a career around centres that no one remembers 30 minutes after the game ends. It really is sad.