Thread: Fourth Line
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10-06-2005, 12:49 PM
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San Jose was a tough team to open with on many levels, but it was especially tough with that 4th line. With a good change, San Jose can really exploit that kind of line. Anaheim and Colorado will not be much easier.

I think Nichol will eventually be an upgrade over Fiddler. I think we'll see Hordichuk scratched against teams like San Jose and he'll obviously be on the roster regardless. Stevenson is certainly no all star, but he's better at that 4th line role on the NHL level than Gamache right now, imo. When he's healed, that will be an upgrade.

As much as I wouldn't mind seeing Tootoo sent down when everyone is healthy, he had arguably one of his best plays (with the puck) on the pass out from behind the net. Either Fiddler wasn't expecting that from Toots or he must have been checking out the icegirls, because he had a set up in the slot had he anticipated it better. I still think there's a hint of hesitation to Tootoo's game now that Trotz has called him out, which, as nmk noted, is deadly for him at this point. Nichol isn't as powerful as tootoo, but he's a pest and can fill that role with more overall skill. Maybe if we didn't have a pest/agitator on that line, Tootoo would be more needed for that role.

If they send down Tootoo and bring up Upshall, it would increase our versatility against more skilled, less physical teams. you could have Nichol-Upshall-Stevenson against teams like San Jose or Detroit. You could go Nichol-Hordy-Stevenson against the likes of Calgary and Columbus. And when there is an injury, Upshall (assuming the injury isn't to him...) is someone we can plug in on the third line without having to call anyone up. While it'd be nice to give Upshall some quality minutes in Milwaukee, maybe he'd get more out of being exposed to our locker room and being influenced by Kariya and Walker.

of course, there's always Vladdy in November if he's healed and cheap...

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