Diminished ice time
Before we get to that subject, just a moment to credit defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Lukas Krajicek. Meszaros, wearing a full mask to protect his stitched up lips and mouth, played 25:38 with a blocked shot. Krajicek, who has been bothered by a finger injury, played a season-high 24 minutes and blocked two shots.
Their participation in Sunday's 4-1 victory over the Thrashers allowed Ty Wishart to be scratched and Paul Ranger (upper body) to have another day off. With Wishart and Vladimir Mihalik, going back to AHL Norfolk, it's pretty much assured that Ranger will be ready for Thursday's game at the Coyotes.
Just one more housekeeping thing: forward Paul Szczechura was scratched because of a left leg problem that he said has been lingering for a while. With the three days off, coach Rick Tocchet said it was a "no brainer" to sit him on Sunday. The hope is he will be ready for Thursday.
Anyway, back to the point of this blog. Did you notice that Tocchet did not use the MVP line on the game's first power play? A message for the lead line on a power play that was on a 5-for-56 streak? And how about the wakeup call when Steve Eminger scored with assists from Jussi Jokinen and Adam Hall?
Tocchet said he was using whatever line was up, and he will continue to do that in the near future, he said. He said it is part of a "mental break" for his top three forwards. That seemed to extend to the rest of the game as well, to a certain extent as Vinny Lecavalier played just 16:13, more than four minutes below his average. Marty St. Louis (who had two goals and has five and 12 points in his past eight games) played 15:37, almost six minutes down; and Vinny Prospal played 14:43, about four minutes down.
When asked about it, St. Louis said, "Obviously, we haven't scored on the power play, so, you know, it is what it is."
What it is, is simply something to keep an eye on.
Oh, and I just wanted to pass this quote along from Thrashers coach John Anderson, whose team fell behind Tampa Bay into the Southeast cellar: "Our give-a-crap level is at zero. ... I got to question whether anybody cares in that locker room right now. It's a joke."