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11-04-2010, 07:40 PM
Seth Lake
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Originally Posted by SK All Day View Post
agree, this shuffling of the lines thing hasnt ever really worked imo. we need to keep the same faces together.
Or since not every player is going to be at their best 82 games a year, Trotz might find it beneficial to move players around to reward those who are performing on any given night and demote those that aren't performing to limit their ice time and/or get them going before the game is over.

Sullivan - O'Reilly - Hornqvist have played every game this season together

Legwand and Ward have been together the entire season with Smithson, Tootoo, and Dumont having rotated in at the other wing

Spaling and Smithson have been paired together on the fourth line for much of the season since Nick was recalled from Milwaukee

The main rotation has been on the second scoring line where injuries to Lombardi, Erat, and Goc have made it necessary on an almost night to night basis to try to find a match up that works there.

Kostitsyn has been steadily improving as he's gotten healthy and was moved up last night as a result and got a goal and created a chance for Bouillon to score as well with a great screen (I think he deflected the puck too) in front of Bryzgalov.

Tootoo has actually been playing well prior to his injury by being a beast on the forecheck, not pulling himself out of position by running around to land the big check, and by drawing penalties through sheer hard work and determination. Has he translated this into goals? No, but he has created the opportunities for others to score regardless of whether or not he's been given credit on the scoresheet.

Goc started the season excellent and really looking to show the talent that we saw displayed last season when he was paired with Sully and Hornqvist. He scored a couple of key goals prior to his injury and has since been rewarded for it by being promoted to the second scoring line center upon his return from injury instead of immediately replacing Spaling as the 4th line (energy/checking line) center where he was prior to injury. I thought Goc performed very well last night showing very few signs of rust, playing responsibly defensively, and creating several offensive opportunities. Overall, it was a great first game back for Goc.

Losing Lombardi and Suter (and even having Erat not playing healthy) have hurt the most because they are guys that bring a lot to the transition game. Lombardi brings blazing speed that can stretch the defense and expose weak spots and slow or flat footed defensemen. Suter brings great on-ice vision, poise, and passing to the attack. Ryan can lug the puck up ice as well as he can pass it and rarely moves the puck into an area without options. He is a settling force back on defense in transition and if there's one rule to heed in transition it's that the first pass is always the most important. Erat has clearly not been himself this season and one has to assume the back spasms that affected him in the preseason have a lot to do with that. Personally, I'm glad he's been shut down right now and hope they can find the cause of his issues and correct them in order to enable him to a level where he can perform. When healthy, Erat can and is usually one of the few guys we have that can carry the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive end with possession.

Tinkering with the lines is the best solution right now to our problems until we either get our guys back healthy or we find others that can fill the missing roles on a consistent basis.

The difference between each level of hockey from amateur to pro isn't really skill level, but rather how consistently a player can perform said skill under pressure. Right now different guys are being asked to play different roles in all facets of the game and until they can perform in those roles on a consistent basis...I don't have any problem with Trotz changing the lineup on any given night or at any moment in the game to find someone who will...

Earlier this season when healthy we showed that we are a team that believes in our system and will play our system for a full 60 minutes because of our belief that it is the best system for our team to enable us to win. It's the same thing Detroit (left wing lock) and New Jersey (neutral zone trap) have been known for for years. It's what highly successful teams do. You don't radically alter your systems, you fine tune and adjust your systems on a night to night basis, but the bottom line is that when you can get all 18 skaters on the same page on any given night you can force your opponent to play your game and take them away from what they do best.

It's what we did earlier this year and now what we're looking to achieve again despite the injuries. I don't expect everyone to understand because it takes patience, heck even I'm frustrated with last night's loss and those that came before, but the bottom line is that I'm not going to panic because I saw the team get back to Predator Hockey even if it was for only ~35 minutes. That was a heck of a lot better than Saturday night in Detroit where we saw only ~15 minutes...

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