If you haven’t heard, Terry Murray believes the Columbus Blue Jackets are a gritty team.
Gritty. As in full of grit.
Richie played well. I liked his game in Detroit, and we moved him up, in the latter part of the game, to be able to shut that game down. He did a good job for us. We need Westgarth’s presence. They’ve got a gritty lineup, and I just think that it’s important for us to counteract that and be able to make our guys feel comfortable to play the game.”
Murray also took (yet another) opportunity to explain his philosophy behind having an “enforcer” in the lineup regularly…
MURRAY: “When you’ve got hard teams that play against you, with physical play, it does take a little bit of that creativity, that attitude of holding onto the puck a little bit longer. We want our players to feel that they can go out and play the game, and play the way we need to play in order to win it.”
So, we need Westgarth’s ”presence.” We certainly don’t need his skating, stick handling, shot, passing ability or any hockey related talent. We all agree he isn’t close to Brad Richardson’s level in that regard.
We need this so the rest of the team can play their game…or so we read.
We played the Columbus Blue Jackets on November 17 of 2010. We lost 5-3. Kevin Westgarth and his grit suppressing skills was in the lineup. We lost 5-3. There wasn’t a single fight in that game. Westgarth was a pylon.
We played the same gritty Blue Jackets January 8 of this year. We won 6-4. Kevin Westgarth played that game too…all of 4 minutes and change. If he played in the third period, I may have missed it. He didn’t fight. Didn’t dissuade a single grit from acting out. Kyle Clifford fought and won.
Why do we need Westgarth again? To fight? But he doesn’t very often and if he does, he would take on a heavy weight which means two useless players cancel each other out. That isn’t progress. So, at best, Westgarth is a grit placebo and, at worst, is a complete waste of a roster spot and prevents Terry Murray from skating four lines throughout the game.