Erik Cole is a beauty hockey player. Just is. He's one of those guys that gets it. He drives to the net with wreckless abandon. He gets the puck moving north-south in a hurry. He can finish, both with the puck and with his shoulder. He's a leader in the room and a leader on the ice. Basically...
He's Jarome Iginla-lite.
Now, while I'm not going to focus on the long-term effects or anything like that, it appears that MacT has figured out two very important things early on at this camp, and it's in a direction that I'm not sure anyone saw him taking. He's figured out how to run one of the best power lines in the league with Cole - Horcoff - Hemsky while still having a a third line that can pick up the rest of the slack.
The answer to the question, of course, was the hero from the '06 run. San Fernando. Early at camp he's been moved to center between Moreau and Penner on a line that very few would've thought of... and early returns are that it's working out well. This isn't the first time MacT has tried to move someone to C - I'm sure we all remember the Ryan Smyth "#1 C" experiment a few years ago, but this is a move that looks brilliant early on. Pisani is a guy who can move the puck North-South in a hurry while Penner and Moreau are both strong along the boards... while I don't want Penner (or Moreau, for that matter) running around in our own zone against Iginla or the Sedin's.... the fact is Pisani is a guy who'll break the cycle and get the puck out... and Penner and Moreau are both guys who can muck the game down low and kill the time.
Will it last? Tough to say, shit happens, guys get injured, guys like Brodziak and Pouliot will have to step it up as time goes on, etc. However, for now, I am damn excited by the prospects of a top 9 that starts with the power line, moves to this mucking line and finishes off with some razzle and dazzle from the kids.
The first preseason game is tonight boys.
Keep your head up and buckle up, it's gonna be a fun Winter.