Still a ways to go -- the need for depth and elite players
Not to over-react to the past couple of games but we still have a ways to go with this team. That's why I haven't been getting too Stanley Cup feverish. We could win if we got on a surreal run, but otherwise we know that realistically Gillis is just in year one of a rebuild.
We desperately need depth in this franchise. Our third line is really a makeshift line of guys you wouldn't normally put on a checking line. But they were determined enough to make it work and there was chemistry between Wellwood-Pyatt-Bernier. The Underachievers were united and they produced. With Pyatt gone, the team has really gotten scrambled, and that delicate balance that was winning games for us has left for the time being.
The one thing that Mats Sundin has proven is that with an elite player -- any elite player -- the team is vastly improved. This was the failing of the Nonis years: to find elite talent for the club. It's fair to say that Mats has under-achieved this year and hasn't come close to contributing individually what we hoped he would. But it hasn't mattered that much because what he HAS brought is balance to the team. Having elite players throughout your lineup instead of just on the top line makes for matchup hell for opposing teams. Even as an underachiever, Mats is contributing, just because of the attention an elite player like him commands.
I hope the team pulls it back together and develops a new chemistry. Reports on the radio today said that there's no way of knowing when Pyatt will be back. Ray Ferraro wasn't even sure if Pyatt would be back for the playoffs. This absence really exposes the weaknesses of the club, and it's expecting a lot of them when their roster is so thin to regain that chemistry.