There are still many questions to be answered up front. Is Purcell ready to take it to the next level? “We’ve driven into him “you’ve got to get to the blue and you’ve got to pay the price””. Will Moulson be back? Will there be several surprises this season as we had with Wayne Simmonds and Oscar Moller? For those wondering if Kyle Calder would be returning, Lombardi simply stated, “I have to look for an upgrade”.
As for the locker room and fan favorite Derek Armstrong, who never took a shift off and always played like it was his last game, he just may have played his last NHL game. Lombardi also admitted to trying to deal him to a playoff contender at the deadline but only had “A couple of nibbles. I talked to him about what he wants to do and he does want to continue to play. If it’s not here he’ll go to Europe and play. Switzerland is already after him”.
Lombardi often mentions young players having the opportunity to grab a spot, so I felt this was an opportune time to bring up my favorite whipping boy, Brian Boyle.
“That’s one of the guys that’s penciled in for a shot again”, referring to the shots given last season to himself, Simmonds and Moller. “He had some flashes but coming into camp, he was a disappointment. He got flat out outplayed by those other two guys”.
“I can’t pencil him in again. I’ve had this discussion with his agent because obviously his contract is up and I said “what do you want me to do? The job was there last year and he didn’t grab it”. He had to go back down, and to his credit, he fought his way back and at the end he played pretty well. But it is time. He’s from Brownie’s draft. It’s time here”