I'll be the first to admit that this is not my typical kind of post. This one is based entirely on a need to vent about the kind of chatter that is happening with regards to our man Zorg and his unfortunate draft-class mate, JF(F)J. The esteemed Lowetide put up a post today over at OilersNation talking about the Zorg, stating that while he doesn't love Zack, he understands the value of Zack in the lineup and hopes that JFJ is the big skill-less winger who will get "kicked to the curb" as opposed to Zack, who is far from the worst on the team. The question though, is why is this even up for debate? I still cannot even understand why JFJ is playing in the NHL. In his 5 pro seasons, he hasn't gotten any better, despite spending a huge chunk of time playing top-gun minutes with Horcoff and Hemsky last year. He doesn't really pass, doesn't really shoot, has zero defensive awareness and a nasty habit of going for the hit instead of the puck. I kinda thought the purpose of hockey was to take the puck and try to move it up the ice towards the other team's net, not skate fast and hit people while avoiding the puck. As LT stated, Zorgybear is usually out with dreadful linemates and tends to keep the puck on the good side of the ice. On a team that was horrifically bad last year, Zack was actually a +3 player on the old +/- scale, no easy task when you've got a team goal differential of - 70. Zack can play both wings, occasionally take draws, has more heart then most of the team put together and trains harder than anyone this side of Shawn Horcoff, including taking a crazily intense power-skating course all summer long in an effort to get faster. JFJ broke his back, twice. Ok, so I can't harp on the guy for having an injury history. Back injuries suck, I know. I have had my share of back troubles, mostly from being a fat guy, but now that I am no longer a fat guy, I still have issues every now and again. The injuries are not the point, the performance on ice is. In 246 games, Zack has 39 points. In 122 games, JFJ has 12. Zack has more career goals than JFJ has points, yet there are still people out there that insist that we keep evaluating JFJ to see if he will turn into what he was projected to be. And those people are not limited to Steve 3.0. (Although, his evaluation is the only one that seems to matter...) After 5 years, I think we have seen enough.
The team isn't sucking that much. It isn't perfect, but there are so many obvious solutions to the problems that they have, yet Jacques keeps trotting out there while Zack often sits in the pressbox. In last night's game against the Sharks, there was a sequence in the third, a momentum changing sequence where Stortini basically kept the puck in the attacking zone by himself for about 35 seconds, despite the near failures of both of his linemates. He can control the boards for extended periods and won't give up the puck to make or take a hit. That is not something that can be said about JFJ.
Bottom line, JFJ is taking up a roster spot that could be going to any number of better players within the organization. It's time to cut him loose. Send him to the farm and bring up the ginger, or MacDonald, or keep the roster spot open in case a defenceman is needed or someone interesting comes up on the waiver wire. We've already flushed the Poo, now it's time to purge the other mistake of 2003. Crazy Train, it's time for you to leave the station, and as is the case with most trains, you're running a little behind on your scheduled departure.