: Line Combos:
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11-11-2008, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
This might have been raised elsewhere, but doesn't jumbling your team's lines every week mess with the players' ability to get comfortable on the ice with eachother?
I mean sure, these are professional hockey players, they can adjust, but we've had about 2 or 3 years straight of undetermined lines. Hitch did this a little in his last full year and Stevens has been doing this non stop. It's not as if one guying is changing with another guy, pretty much everything changes every time.
What's the theory other than "shaking things up?" It clearly hasn't worked for the past couple years. It seems like Stevens wants these guys to play Total Football, just expecting them to fill whatever role is on the ice.
Stevens' system doesn't seem clear some times because it's not elegant whatsoever. His style seems to be based on playing to individual strengths and weaknesses, and by challenging the player mentally. His team designs are fairly straightforward and predictable. Many people on this board have voiced an opinion that he needs to let the speedy guys use their speed, and I couldnt agree more! Have a guy like Carter sprint over the blue line and let him make the decision whether to shoot or lay it off. He has such a great stride and size, but he is being used with very little versatility, such that it makes his linemates one dimensional.
The great thing that the Flyers have (or Stevens' may have instilled) is that they stay calm under pressure. Sure they have mental lapses (i.e. too many post-lockout penalties) but rarely will you see a group of flyers scrambling aimlessly. They trust eachother, it's just they don't have that indispensable level of familiarity that great teams show.
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