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Five instead of six?

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You know, sometimes I don't agree witht he tact that John Tortorella and Jay Feater want to take with the franchise. Of course they proved me wrong in 2002-03 when they sent down SWhane WIllis and kept Vaclav Prospal after the two players had identical trainign camps. They also proved me wrong in 2003-04 when they wrote off prospects early on in camp to give focus to the projected starters.

This time I have a legit beef.

The team is now contimplating playing five defensemen instead of six, spreading out defensive responsibilities to the returning defensive starters.

But Tortorella doesn't feel comfortable turning over major minutes to either 19-year-old Andy Rogers or Timo Helbling, 24. Neither has played in the NHL.

"Right now, I'm still not certain we have a sixth defenseman," Tortorella said. "This coaching staff has some real concerns about playing a 19-year-old on defense. And Helbling never has played in the NHL.

"And I don't mean this as disrespect to them. They have talent. But I'm not sure it's good for their development to be rushed into the lineup. So I want to do what's best for not only the NHL team, but also what is best for these two kids."

I can understand wanting to nto rush Andy Rogers into things and can understand if we demote him to the juniors. I also understand wanting to ween new guys into the system but I don't exactly like the idea of treating Timo Hebling like he's a retard and can't play the game. Yes, he's only played one year in North America but -- newsflash! -- there are a number of players who haven't played in a year participating in NHL hockey this year! You want to break a European defensiveman into the league? Now's the time.

If the Bolts are looking for another defensiveman and shopping about on the waiver wire or through trade channels - there hasn't been much open speculation besides through the local media that they were looking. I think they already have defenseman #6 and should just put some faith in the guy.