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05-10-2011, 09:02 AM
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Okay, so my question is, why did the coach, who's so godawful with young players, relegate 24-year-old Pouliot to the fourth line then the pressbox... but systematically played 22-year-old Pacioretty on the top-6?

The answer is actually: MaxPac can handle it, Pouliot can't. It's got nothing to do with the coach somehow favoring "veterans" for no good reason, something he did not actually do.

Martin is actually pretty damned predictable in his personnel management, largely because he's so logical and deliberate about it. I praised it last year despite complaining about his system, and he hasn't changed. He experiments to figure out what each of his guys can and can't handle, then puts them in a position to succeed by handing them responsibilities they can handle. Young players will occasionally be handed greater duties that they can deal with as a learning experience, and gradually be brought up the depth chart as they progress. Happened with Eller. Happened with Pacioretty. Happened with Desharnais. Happened with Subban, though it wasn't very "gradual". Expect to see it happen with Weber next year.

If Pouliot wants top-6 icetime in the NHL he needs to improve his overall game, especially his defense. This is not a Jacques-Martinism. Virtually everyone in the league plays power-on-power now; you can't afford your top-6 lines to have a defensive liability on them, because they're no longer facing "defensive" third-liners that couldn't exploit the weakness -- they're facing strong overall hockey players that can both attack and defend.

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