Thread: JM got balls
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10-13-2011, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by LyleOdelein View Post
You can't analyze the decision outside of its context.

Spacek had already been hurt, so Weber was shifted from the 4th line to fill the hole in the defense. This essentially took using the 4th line as an option out of the game early (unless one or a combination of Gionta/Cole/AKost were double-shifted in Weber's RW place on the fourth line). When Cammy was injured, that created a hole at LW on the top line.

The replacement options were Darche, AKost (out of position) or Moen. Keep in mind that this was still fairly early in the game. Moving AKost up to that line would leave Martin with a third line of:

Darche-Desharnais-Moen (out of position)/Engqvist (out of position)

That third line is a lot worse than the third line with AKost (in position) on it. It would probably see reduced ES icetime and force Martin to ride primarily his top 6 horses for two and a half periods.

Shifting Moen up to the first line might not give the line the offensive flair AKost would have, but it did allow for a much better balance in all of the lines, while it also allowed every remaining forward to stay at their ideal position. The only guy who really got the short end of the stick was Engqvist (which is inconsequential, IMO).

In adjusting the lines, Martin had the choice of dramatically impacting 2 of the 3 lines he had left to work with while playing 2 of his top 9 forwards out of position, or affecting only one line while retaining all of his top nine forwards in position. Considering that the team was winning at the time, he chose the less disruptive option and it worked out well.

Heading into tonight's game, Martin's decided to keep the top nine as it worked last game and sub Eller and Palushaj into the vacancies on the fourth line. This isn't a long-term endorsement of Moen as a top forward, but more maintaining consistency in line groupings and avoiding trying to fix what wasn't broken last game.

I would also venture to guess that Martin is keeping AKost with Desharnais/Darche with a solid eye to the future when Eller steps into centering that line.

Nothing that Martin has done is unconventional whatsoever. It's pretty much Bench Management 101.
Worth quoting this post because it needs to be read re-read. People see Moen on the first line and they immediately assume JM thinks he's a top 6 player. Worst part is JM explains it every day. It's all about balancing your lines.

This is incidentally one of the reasons why JM is one of the league's most underrated coaches. His approach is excellent when it comes to dealing with injuries. If you look at the injuries the Habs have sustained over the years he's been here and what he's done with that team it's really quite amazing.

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