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Brent Burns still not ready to play, Marian Gaborik hits the ice, roster cuts and the progression of Colton Gillies

Let's begin with the cuts:

  • Cody Almond - returned to juniors
  • Carson McMillan - returned to juniors
  • Justin Hodgman - released
  • Frederic St. Denis - released
  • Tyler Schmidt  - released

According to Michael Russo, Brent Burns is still practicing with the team, but has not yet received medical clearance to play. Jacques Lemaire indicated that Burns should see his first action either at Buffalo on Sunday or home against the Blackhawks next Tuesday.

Marian Gaborik took the ice prior to practice, but it still not yet with the team in drills, let alone up to game speed. How long before we start to think "not again."

Tonight's lineup is Nolan, Belanger, Veilleux, Gillies, Pouliot, Weller, Boogaard, Sheppard, Clutterbuck, Kalus, Koivu, Miettinen, Skoula, Zidlicky, Noreau, Johnsson, Bergeron, Reitz, Harding, Schaefer. Extras: Mojzis, Irmen. Look for the lines and defensive pairings later this afternoon.

 

A decision must be made on Colton Gillies soon. If he doesn't make the roster, he has to return to juniors. Lemaire has indicated that another year in juniors is not what the 2007 first round draft pick needs to progress his game.

Gillies isn't afraid to be a team leader, something that sets him apart from most other young players. He was captain or alternate on the under-17 and under-18 Canadian national teams. "I like to talk in the locker room, as much as possible," Gillies said Thursday. "Even if no one's talking, I'll tell an older guy, 'Say something to fire us up.' Then he'll say something, and I'll back him up: 'Yeah, that's right! Let's do that!' "

"I like what he does on the ice," Lemaire said. "He's a good skater, he plays a physical game. He's fast, quick for his size. He has a presence. We'll have to work on his shot, around the net, his hands so he can get some points. "But I'm very pleased the way he's playing right now."

Sounds like he wants Gillies with the team, but the decision is up to Doug Risebrough.

Now, with the progress Colton Gillies has made, it leaves me to wonder where on earth Petr Kalus is? Talk after his trade for Manny Fernandez was that Kalus was goig to be the young power forward this team lacked. If Gillies is going to fill that bill, where does that leave Kalus? Is he improving too slowly to count on this season? Hopefully we can get some idea of his positioning tonight in Chicago.