What to do about jumpstarting Jeff Friesen?
He's hitting posts pretty regularly right now and still in need of a good offensive jumpstart - most especially now with Jamie Langenbrunner down. I keep thinking back to Burns' quote last season when Elias was in his prolonged scoring slump and he told him maybe he needs to aim at the crest of the goaltender and not grip the stick so tight. Get back into the mindset of not trying to do too much and just let things feel right on the ice without allowing for frustrations to carryover into the next shift.
The really rotten thing about Langenbrunner going down is that he was the one Devil last season who could always breathe some much needed life into a struggling line anytime you needed to tear things down and mix things up. Kind of the cure all Sergei Brylin on a higher level if you will. I think Nieuwendyk's absence is affecting Friesen more then I figured it would initially.
Currently Friesen is on a line with Gomez and Gionta/Marshall which should theoretically be a good fit for him. Do we temporarily move him onto a line with Larionov or drop him down to the fourth line with a Rupp or Rasmussen? Doesn't seem to me like this would kickstart him. Is Berglund the answer centering a line with Friesen? I was really impressed with Berglund's speed and ability to draw two penalties against Dallas with some spirited play. He had Stars players gunning for him all game long with his hits. Maybe its time to unite Friesen on a line with Rupp and Berglund?
This is said to players all of the time but it has always helped me when I've been stuck in a rut in terms of scoring or doing the right things on the ice.
Back to basics. Just play like you're a kid and it'll all come back. Don't think about things too much. Take it down a notch, play with respect and let things roll.
I like the idea of Berglund and Freeze on a line and I'm sure Burns will try every combination possible before he sticks Jeff on the fourth line. IMO, being on the fourth line is not such a bad thing for a struggling player.
It takes him back to square one. Work your way back up to where you should be by getting a feel for things without a ton of pressure on you. While doing this, he gives us another line that is a threat to score at any given time.
Just my $.02.
Maybe this would work...
Elias - Gomez - Gionta
Friesen - Rupp - Berglund
Pandolfo - Madden - Brylin
Marshall - Larionov - Stevenson
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