Saturday, January 1, 2011

Del Zotto Sitting Fourth Straight; Time to Play Him Or Send Him Down Has Come

Over the past 24 hours there had been some speculation among the beat writers that defenseman Michael Del Zotto would be back in the lineup and that veteran defender Michal Rozsival might see a night in the press box for the New York Rangers but that is not going to be the case for tonight at least.  Per Steve Zipay, who reportd it first, it will be Del Zotto who sits for his fourth straight game even though he is back among the healthy for tonight's lineup.  The reason for the speculation on Rozi potentially sitting happened is because at practice yesterday Del Zotto was paired with Steve Eminger while Rozsival was not among a steady pair.

With Del Zotto out again it is clear that at some point in the near future the Rangers are going to have to decide to either put Del Zotto back in the lineup or send him down to the AHL.  As important as him learning lessons and correcting his mistakes are right now for the success of the NHL club on the ice, at his age he needs to play and get experience just as much.  If that means going down to the Whale where his mistakes "matter less" in terms of winning and losing and developing him becomes the focus again then so be it.  I discussed more in depth whether sending Del Zotto to the minors was a good thing in the linked article.  The biggest downside to sending him down has been the idea of it messing with his head and his confidence, well sitting out four straight is doing that already without the potential benefit of actually playing.

Personally even if he does stay and come back Eminger is not the answer for a partner to Del Zotto even though they played together during Rozi's injury earlier in the year.  Eminger has seen his own play slip and the best partner for Del Zotto is Sauer and throwing him back in against second line competition is not the answer either.  Part of the reason DZ continues to fail is because he keeps getting put back in the same exact situations as before and we all know it is the definition of insanity to do the same things over and over and expect different results.  If Torts wants to critcize DZ for making those same mistakes over and over as he did a few days back then he needs to also look in the mirror at himself for putting him in the exact same spots.  The job as a coach is to put your players in the best possible situations to succeed not watch them fail and then punish them for it.  Let him play against weaker competition to get his game back and then you can move him back up when he EARNS it.