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04-26-2006, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by braindead
I think that leaves Erat, Silly, Hartnell, Kariya, YP and Upshall as your best offensive weapons. To me, Hartnell and Upshall are the keys at this point 5 on 5 against a bigger stronger team.

To throw out some ideas:

I think Upshall on the top line and Hartnell on the 2nd line. Sit Tootoo (who isn't playing badly) and move Walker down to the 4th line. Then we need to find a way to get YP on the bench for some PP time-- I would sit Nichols for that.

I would design a PP unit that puts Hartnell permanently in front of the net while feeding Weber the puck constantly. Look at the Calgary footage for how they set up Phaneuf.

If Zids were somewhat healthy, I might even consider dressing 7 defensemen so he could play power play only. With he and YP as special situations guys, I would then role only 3 lines.
I agree with putting Upshall on the top line. Barring an injury or discipline problem that we haven't seen, there is no reason why he shouldn't have been in the game last night. He's been one of our best players each time he was out there in the second half of the regular season. He has fresh legs. He loves to mix it up physically, might be our fastest player, and he's not shown a real bad habit of taking unnecessary penalties. And he can be counted on to play on any line.

Hartnell has fallen out of favor in Trotz' eyes. He's seeing virtually no power play time and has averaged around 10 minutes a game in this series, and with each passing game, that ice time drops. Hartnell has to step up and play well for us to have a chance. I say throw him out there in prime minutes and let him sink or swim. Without a contribution from his part, we'll be lucky to win one more game. It's a risk-reward situation. And considering that the risk is dropping by the minute, that reward is looking all the more sweet.

I'm concerned about unleashing YP into this series because of the speed of both teams, but at this point, we have to begin to try things that have the potential for benefit and focus less on the risks. He might add another weapon to a powerplay that is becoming littered with players who are doing more harm than good. We certainly could use his shot, and if we also added someone with size like Hartnell or Hall, we can create the screens that led to such a successful powerplay in game 1.

It's amazing that we are even treading water in this series with how many of our key players are either out, lame, or playing the worst hockey of their careers (Sullivan, Legwand, Zidlicky, Walker, Hall, Hartnell, Vokoun are all either out or limited in usefulness). I had been in denial about the injuries to Sullivan and Walker and told myself that they were rusty and needed to work out of it. As this series progresses however, it becomes more and more clear that neither are even close to healthy. It's a testament to the depth that we've built up as a franchise that we are in a legitimate position to win this series against a very good opponent.

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