Tlusty for Crosby?
On the basis of some emails this morning, you'd think the Leafs would turn down the deal if Pittsburgh came a-calling this morning and offered Sidney Crosby straight up for Jiri Tlusty.
One shot off the rump and a good wrister a few seconds later, it seems, has Tlusty poised for immediate induction into the Hall of Fame. You know, waive the mandatory waiting period and all that.
Sort of reminds me how, after a few weeks as a Blue Jay one year, over-enthused fans had Jose Cruz Jr. headed straight for Cooperstown.
But that's okay, really. It's a fan's right to get excited about the potential of a young player, and in the case of Tlusty, there's no shame in finding hope in a former first round draft pick who picked up a pair of goals in his first NHL start.
Tlusty, if he can stick around, represents a tangible future asset that GM John Ferguson can point to as reason to believe his blueprint will yield concrete results. If Tlusty and Justin Pogge and Nikolai Kulemin turn out to be bona fide NHLers, JFJ's plan will start to make a lot more sense.
But, quite frankly, there were two other equally intriguing plot lines in Thursday's Leaf victory over the Penguins.
First, the Leafs played their finest game of the season by far. Specifically, they looked a lot more like a team, and used their size more effectively than they had all season and spent a great deal less time in their own zone.
Whether they can do it two games in a row, of course, is the trick.
Second, it's interesting to watch the Penguins struggle with expectations in the early part of the season, and to see coach Michel Therrien continue to search for just the right combination of linemates for Crosby.
Sid the Kid's numbers have picked up of late, and as of this morning he's up to 16th in league scoring - with a bullet.
Therrien tried to play Jordan Staal with Crosby earlier this season, but Staal seems, well, stalled in his second NHL season with only a goal and an assist so far. Against the Leafs, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin played together - with veteran Mark Recchi on the other wing - and created the Pens' two goals on the night.
Perhaps Crosby and Malkin will work out together, although it defeats the notion that having two dominant players on two separate lines is what will make Pittsburgh an NHL powerhouse over time.
Right now, it's fair to say that Crosby is still looking for his on-ice soulmate, waiting for somebody to be the Kurri to his Gretzky.