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01-27-2013, 12:10 AM
  #556
4evaBlue
Corsi != Possession
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunjay View Post
Kessel could be 10x more effective on the boards than he is if he actually wanted to. Don't kid yourself, Kessel is not engaging more now than he ever has. It's not that he's losing puck battles on the boards, the battles aren't even happening.
I have no time (or desire really) to re-watch the first four games to make a clip of what I perceive as his improved board work, but I will re-watch tonight's game at some point tomorrow, and will try to post something from this game. The one play that really stood out tonight was in the 2nd period (I believe), when Kessel knowingly took a big hit to ensure the puck got out of our defensive zone. I remember cringing, and thinking that the prototypical Kessel of seasons past would have just bailed on that play.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bunjay View Post
You can tailor the team to Kessel's weaknesses all you want. With Lupul out we don't have what it takes. Sure, move Kadri up. Then we're back to two 'scoring' lines (neither of which have actually played together, and could just as easily fail), a third line that can do nothing and is probably a defensive liability (MacArthur being soft on the boards, Frattin being inexperienced), and a fourth line that gets trusted with 7 minutes a game or less.
Making the lineup is definitely a balancing act, and one that will get tougher with injuries. I agree that the 3rd line could end up being useless, but maybe a Komarov-McClement-Frattin line (I'd prefer Kulemin instead of Frattin, but it's not an option with Lupul out) can be used as a shutdown line of sort. I'm not very high on Frattin's defensive abilities, but now's as good a time as any to hone his defensive game.

I'd rather not have the Grabo line in a dedicated shutdown role, and would prefer to utilize them mostly offensively. Same with the Kessel line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bunjay View Post
That's pretty similar to where we were in '10-11, is it not? Kessel scored 32, second line scored 80 or whatever it was, and the team sucked.
The '10-'11 team didn't suck because of the lack of offense. Grabo's line scored around 80, while the Kessel line (of various permutations) scored around 58 goals. That's actually not bad for secondary scoring, considering the Russian roulette that was happening on Kessel's opposite wing.

The Kessel line had a dedicated puck retriever/net presence for most of the season (be it Kulemin, Caputi, Mitchell, Armstrong, Crabb, or Lupul), except for the relatively short Versteeg/Kadri experiments. Some of the teams decided to mark the Kessel line, the rest checked the Grabo line. When one line was shut down, the other usually stepped up. The major difference between then, and now is that back then, on most nights, both lines were buzzing, and creating chances. Even during Kessel's infamous slump, he was generating plenty of offensive chances.

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