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10-03-2007, 12:25 PM
  #19
Langway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Japser17 View Post
Wasn't Kris Beech our 2nd line center for more than 40 games last year? If he can make it that long, can't imagine why Flash can't.

I expect him to get his 40+ games, will he get the job done? That is another question.
Beech only lasted around ten games until the (ugh) Klepis experiment took hold. Beech ended up playing somewhere around 40 games on the second line over the course of the entire year but he also went through stretches were he was on the fourth line or a healthy scratch. Obviously, expectations are different this year and there is a proven commodity in Clark that can take Flash's spot if he's not earning his place in the lineup.

The obstacle for Flash to remain on the top line 40 games into the season isn't just what Flash is doing himself over that stretch. It's possible that the Caps move Kozlov over to RW on Ovechkin's line after feeling comfortable enough to move Nylander up to center the first line and give Backstrom the second-line center spot. Plus, a lot will depend on the overall success of the team and the chemistry created on the top two lines. Even if Flash is playing pretty decent, Hanlon might be forced to shake up the lines and go with a different combination.

Odds are against him staying on the top line all season (or even until mid-season) but I'm pulling for him to make it. I think he's capable of putting up points on the top line but I'm less convinced that his play away from the puck at both ends of the ice and his strength are sufficient enough for him to take a firm hold of that spot. If Fleischmann does struggle at some point--which is probably inevitable--it'll be interesting to see how long of a leash Hanlon gives him and how patient he is with him. Given past experience, I tend to think Hanlon will put Clark back up on the top line pretty quickly if Fleischmann stumbles out of the gate. (Zednik lasted, what, one game on the top line to begin last season?)

The only way I see Hanlon being patient with Fleischmann is if the team is winning and he can afford to do so.

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