It's been a while since I've written much about hockey, mostly because I've not seen or heard anything first-hand myself. My sole sources of information have been podcasts and blog postings. However, listening to the pre-Calgary game audio, MacTavish said something that struck me:
Like we've said right from the start, status quo... we have no interest in maintaining status quo... and whether it's bringing young guys in a little bit before they're ready to really make an impact and trying to develop them and get better as the season goes on, we're very open to doing that too as well.
This is new, coming from MacTavish. He's usually pretty open and plain-spoken, quite unlike the reputation the fellow pictured here had. It sounds, listening to Horcoff, like he was a bit taken aback (MacT said his minutes will definitely be in the 20 range, but his even-strength time and responsibility may be cut), but he's a smart guy - he'll adapt, and he also knows that if the kids struggle, he'll be right back with Penner and Hemmer. (I usually eschew using nicknames, but hey, that's just too cute.) It also sounds to me like this is a plan Lowe and MacTavish cooked up together, unlike in the past where the coach has sounded a little frustrated with the horses his GM has acquired for him.
Clearly the management have accepted that last year was a dog's breakfast, and have some sort of plan to address it. Will their plan work? Who knows? That's the wonder of team sports, hockey in particular. I'm not optimistic, but on the other hand, one of my favourite sayings is "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result each time." It's clear that whatever happens this year, at least it won't be the same as last.
Update about 10 minutes later: Figures, Lowetide already said the same thing, more or less. I think the quotes on Horcoff are far more indicative of a true change to "status quo" though. The stuff MacT's been saying about Cogliano, Schremp, Nilsson, and the rest of the kids is one thing, but it's quite another to say that the guy who was your #1 centre in a run to the Stanley Cup Finals isn't quite the guy you envisioned for your top line. He's right though, just as he was with Mike Comrie: Horcoff is a very fine hockey player, and well worth every penny he's paid - and then some. But when your 27 year old best offensive centre had a 79 point season playing between Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky, when a 25 year old Doug Weight got 104 playing with the likes of Zdeno Ciger, David Oliver, and Mariusz Czerkawski, you need to start looking for another offensive catalyst to back Horc up.