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11-28-2010, 09:11 PM
  #69
Florentino Ariza
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Bylsma doesn't deserve to be criticized for mixing up the lines. If there is one common criticism I see among all the fanbases about coaching, it is that the coach line-juggles too much. I think juggling to try to put hot players together or create some chemistry is something every coach does and I don't have a problem with it at all. In our case, the top line is basically set and rarely changes (except when Crosby and Malkin play together) and it's really the second line that is the main concern on the boards because there are concerns about who Malkin is playing with. The truth is that Dan doesn't have much to work with so it makes sense to try to change things up and get different guys with Malkin. The fundamental issue isn't that Asham isn't getting enough time with Malkin, it's that the team suffers from a significant lack of talent on the wings and I won't fault the coach for that.

Another issue that is intriguing to me is where Kennedy should play. Clearly he has demonstrated that he has some skill and can handle playing with skilled players; possibly better than Dupuis over a long period of time. However, given the way he is playing right now with Letestu and Conner it is hard for me to imagine Bylsma separating those guys. Another thought I have is that maybe right now Kennedy is best suited to stay on the third line and get limited opportunities to play with Crosby/Malkin. In the current situation he is slowly getting acclimated to playing on a top line instead of being thrown onto a top scoring line without a useful transition period. In other words, I think Bylsma is playing Kennedy perfectly right now so that he can develop properly while contributing on a highly effective third line.

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