As Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara miss time due to injury. It leaves the team in an odd spot.
Having carried eight defensemen for most of the season, they were not being put to the test. They are now being thrust into action and it is going to be a trial by fire.
Scott Harrington and Gabriel Carlsson knew that they would see ice time in spurts at the NHL level. How often they would see it is a completely different discussion. In their first game together, they impressed their head coach.
"Much better, I thought he was quicker," said head coach John Tortorella about Carlsson's most recent game. "When I say quicker, not so much the physical skills I thought he thought quicker.
Carlsson has an assist in nine games played and Harrington has zero points in five games played. Neither is setting the world on fire and neither have to do so. Carlsson is still finding his legs as a player while Harrington, who is a tad more seasoned is a "what you see is what you get" type player.
Steadiness in a time of uncertainty is all that is needed. Looking up and down the lineup at the other defensemen, you'll find veteran and young players alike. They don't need to be them, they need to be themselves.
"When Harry (Harrington) makes a decision he's going," said Tortorella. "I think that's really important for both of those guys (Harrington and Carlsson) not to overanalyze and over-read in a position that you do have to read. Make a decision quickly to go with it and live with it."
Potential can help players live on longer than their expiration but when opportunity knocks moments have to be seized. Success makes the competition that much better.
"Now we have a couple of injuries, he's (Harrington) playing and he's going to play again tomorrow and that's his role. Then you never know what happens from there so I've liked his couple of games."