I had Talbie 95/5 going pro this weekend, and then I saw how many calls he was getting Sunday morning before we got on the plane. I bet the last 36 hours have been insane for him. I will certainly miss him, both on and off the ice, but I'm glad to see him go pro.
Same grapevine is indicating that Kevin Morrison has signed a deal with the Canadiens. Didn't see that one coming.
Mike, where are you getting four goaltenders for next season? Heisenberg only shows Groh coming in. Griggs will be the only returning netminder with MacNicol graduating and Talbot going pro.
Returning centers for next year: Coburn-Cseter-Järvinen-Ruffini
Returning wingers for next year: Bruni-Campbell-Desmet-Easton-Fairbanks-Geoffrion-Koudys
Returning defensemen for next year: Baxter-Burkholder-deBruyn-Durnie
I have to wonder if two freshmen centers means that Coburn can go back to LW. That's not to say that Coby hasn't been good as a center this season, but I'd rather see him on the wing where he can focus more on scoring goals and less having to back-check, etc. A Coburn-Järvinen-Campbell line could be very interesting.
I don't want the Cseter-Desmet pairing broken up. Those two are dynamite together, and not just because they played in juniors. If Cole didn't think they didn't work, he would've split them up by now---but they do, and he hasn't. I wonder if you try to work Easton in on that line for some scoring power [remember, Eastie scored in juniors] or if you put Seabass out there for a little oomph. I'd be disinclined for the latter because I already worry about the quality of penalties that Keenan takes, and putting him and Seabass out there together may be a bad idea. This isn't the Doug Ross Era.
As for a Ruffini line, I'd love to see Neil centering Bruni and Fairbanks. I think Vince could play on the off side with Banker digging in on RW and trying to use some of that grinding goal-scoring ability.
The blue line does bother me some: you have to keep Burky and deBruyn on separate pairs, because I think you want them to each headman their pair. I'd probably pair Baxter with Burkholder and Durnie with deBruyn. I really hope that Tom gets out of his head and plays more instinctual hockey next year---he's very good when he does that. I joked with Burky that maybe he could get two points next year and double his career total. He just laughed.
Burky will undeniably be the captain next year. I'd pick two from Baxter, Coburn, Fairbanks, and Ruffini for the alternates.
Every time I write something in this post, I feel like I'm going to hurt feelings. I think a large part of that is because I really like all these guys as people. I don't feel like there's a bad egg on the team. I had a hell of a time talking to the guys all weekend, and I hate that the season ended as it did.
I am excited for Year Four of the Cole Era. Next year may be a step back without a proven netminder, but if the boys give Griggs, Groh, or whoever else comes in the same kind of support that Talbie had this year, I give them a puncher's chance. I haven't seen Groh at all, but I liked what I saw of Griggsie in practice when he played with confidence.
Seniors, you'll be missed.