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07-26-2012, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by kenjets36 View Post
Well, no one said every one of our pairings has to be shut down. Players earn their minutes under Torts, so he'll throw the best out there. Sauer is considerably better than Stralman, defensively, and thus will be on the 2nd pairing.

Now, why Staal will be with Girardi and not on the 2nd pairing is because he's already an established first pairing member in Torts book. He's an assistant captain, and will get minutes worth of that title. Him and Girardi were already excellent together, and we saw them together more and more as the playoffs went along. McD and Sauer have also played together and been a formidable duo themselves.

It's about establishment in Torts eyes, something that Staal has over McDonough, due to age, years playing in the league and under Torts, and also familiarity with line mates - Sauer and McDonough already have familiarity playing together while Staal and Sauer don't.

Stralman has many defensive lapses too. Yes, when he needed to step up he did, however, he really struggled some games. He's going to be put in a situation where he can continue to learn and be effective for this team, a situation where his qualities can be maximized while his mistakes can be minimized. He'll get 3rd pairing minutes because it minimizes the time he has to make defensive plays. He'll also be paired with Del Zotto because both are good puck moving defensemen and have also had chemistry playing together.

That being said, if those are our defensive lines, which I think they will be, contingent on Sauer coming back healthy and Stralman resigning, then I think the minutes will be a lot more even than they were last year. Staal/Girardi will play like 23-24 min a game, McD/Sauer will play 19-20, and MDZ and Stralman will play 16-17.
Any combination is possible except for MDZ and girardi. However, McD will not be playing only 19 - 20 a night.You get him out there as often as possible (within reason) because of his elite shut down abilities.

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