The Grinders Climb the Ladder
With the loss of Nash and Huselius through virus and injury, the so-called grinders, plumbers, and/or blue collar workers have shown up with lunch pail in hand. They have secured more ice time and have really filled in admirably as a stop gap in the injury and departures of the two offensive talents.
Derek Dorsett played 17:30 minutes against Atlanta and has 3-2-5 in 10 games. Still nursing a bad hand, he has continued to stick his nose the oppositions business without the fear of getting further injury.
Andrew Murray hovered around 17 minutes in LA, had back-to-back goals for the first time in his career and has a shot on goal in 26 of 31 games. "Weighty Murray" can play the wing or take a shift at center and will not hurt the team in the meantime.
Jared Boll watched his ice time double as well. He played a little over 15 minutes against Atlanta and has been a mainstay on the third line with Chris Clark and Sammy Paulson the past few games. He is one goal shy of tying his career high of five goals. He remains eighth in the NHL in penalty minutes and has added 19 fighting majors to his resume.
These auditions for the players go a long way when it comes decision time at years end. With 12 games remaining in the season, it is the efforts of players like these that can reinforce a team looking to trade, sign or even draft skill players that will undoubtedly play up in the lineup next year. They know their respective roles and are accepting the challenges that wait each night they arrive at the arena.
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac's Blog," "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.