If you were Ron Wilson, head coach of the San Jose Sharks, and your teams season is on the line, and there is a good chance your job is as well, would you pencil young Devin Setoguchi's name in the lineup tonight against the Stars?
That is at least one reality that the Sharks face tonight as they try to dig themselves out of the 3-0 deficit they found themselves in before a big 2-1 win on Wednesday night. Wilson needs to keep the season going, and a big way to do that is to put the right combination of players on the ice. I felt Wilson showed a deft touch as he manipulated lines against Calgary, changing the "look" of the Sharks with hungry young players while resting key veteran components.
I've written in this space previously of the positive contributions of the young guns the Sharks have used throughout the season and now playoffs, especially Torrey Mitchell and Setoguchi.
These players have proven their worth, and their coaches confidence with fearless, gritty play.
The problem arises though when the young players who gave such a great effort and lift, then make bone-headed plays and cost their goal tender, Evgeni Nabokov, his shutout. In case you missed it, that is exactly what Setoguchi did on Wednesday night, gift wrapping a puck right to Jere Leightinen for an easy goal.
Wilson planted Setoguchi at the end of the bench after that debacle, ending the night with just of 6 minutes of ice time. That may be the last we see of Setoguchi this season.
So now Ron Wilson has a choice, one that may or may not be his and his teams undoing. Play the kid, or not. Go with energy and youthful exuberance, or go with veteran savvy.
With three hours until the puck drops we will know the answer soon enough, and when the final whistle blows, we'll know if Ron Wilson's answer was the right one.