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02-27-2008, 10:12 AM
Seth Lake
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Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
I would expect Hlavac to play, I wonder what the status of Bochenski is.
Hlavac is expected to meet the team this morning in Buffalo, however Bochenski will not meet the team until after the game. It'll definitely be interesting to watch practice Thursday morning to see the line combinations going through drills and whether or not they change them up as practice progresses.

As for the lineup, Trotz is definitely in a pickle trying to fit these guys in and see where they best fit without disrupting the existing chemistry. He presents three options:

Hlavac - Legwand - Erat

This would be my first choice for Hlavac. Bonk simply hasn't been producing here either on the scoreboard or in terms of creating scoring chances for his linemates. I honestly thought he had been nursing a shoulder or arm injury since his return to the lineup about a month ago, but yesterday was told that he as healthy as you can be at this point in the season. Therefore, this combination would serve two purposes. First, it would give the second line a two-way player who is used to playing in a more offensive role and can skate well enough to keep up with his linemates, this might be what they need...only time will tell. The second purpose of it would be to kick Bonk in the butt and hopefully put him back in a defensive minded two-way role that better suits his game.

Hordichuk - Smithson - Hlavac

Yes, Hlavac does play on both wings which will create more possibilities for where to fit him in and also adds to his value. This lineup would be the most simple way of introducing him into the lineup tonight with minimal practice time and would allow the coaching staff to make adjustments to the lineup as necessary throughout the game. Obviously, this is not going to be the most ideal situation though as Hlavac is not a 4th liner and will not be able to showcase his talents for the coaching staff or anyone else here. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the line he started on tonight, but I would be surprised if he stayed there for very long.

Erat - Bonk - Hlavac
Nichol - Legwand - Tootoo

The "All Czech Line" scenario. One I joked about, but seriously considered immediately after the trade. This would go along the theory that European players tend to play better with players from their home country due to the emphasis on skills so prevalent in the European game. Furthermore, anyone who remembers Hlavac from his first stint in the NHL probably remembers him from his time in New York with the Rangers on the top line with Nedved and Jagr. This combination lead to a career year for Hlavac and would be hoped to replicate similiar success here in Nashville.

The main problem with this line combination though is that it would drastically disrupt two lines with very minimal practice time to allow the lines to gel. The big upside would be that this very well could work and create two more scoring lines to provide secondary scoring. Nichol would obviously have to take faceoffs for Legwand at times, but that is status quo. Scott has played at wing at times throughout the past two seasons and has not experienced any drop off in his play. Legwand excels at center, however due to his long skating stride he looks totally out of place on the wing where shorter quick strides are needed to change direction to defend in open ice. Basically, the bottom line is that this combination creates two lines with speed and plays ideally to the strengths of all players involved. I think we might eventually see this combination, but simply don't think it'll come tonight.

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