Is Hlavac's time running short?
Jan Hlavac was signed as a free agent to be a finisher on Brad Richards' line. He has been anything but as he had just four goals heading into Saturday night's game with the Islanders and none in his previous eight. The question is, how much longer will coach John Tortorella stick with him before a demotion? Torts doesn't usually doesn't show that much patience. Look at Michel Ouellet, who has five goals, and was demoted from Richards' line to the fourth. Tortorella, though, apparently likes the way Richards and Hlavac work together, and Hlavac is one of the team leaders in scoring chances. He just can't put the puck in the net.
Of course, it's not like Tampa Bay has a lot of options, either. Tortorella is not going to break up Vinny, Vinny and Marty for any length of time, though he could start spotting Marty on Richards' line.
Making it worse have been the recent bad defensive zone giveaways by Hlavac that have either led to goals or scoring chances for the opponent. Tortorella always has said if a player is not scoring, that player has to meet him half way with his defense. Since that is not happening, it's a wonder Hlavac is still on the second line.
Even Hlavac admits of his defense, "That's the biggest thing I have to work on, getting the puck in, getting the puck out. That's where I have the most problems. I've got to get better for sure.''