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02-09-2013, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by CupofOil View Post
True but they were also bleeding goals against at an alarming rate and even though some of that could be attributed to the D pairings that they were playing with, some of that was also on Gagner, Hemsky and Yakupov who each turn the puck over too much in the neutral zone and a lot of times, got caught up the ice. Also, keep in mind, that they weren't creating nearly as many offensive chances as the top line, they were just cashing in on less opportunties. I couldn't imagine this line holding up over the long haul.

The bottom line is that something had to be done about the forward lines, it simply wasn't working as it was.
Everybody loves to focus on this being a supposed demotion of Yakupov but this is not about Yakupov, it's about improving the team. The team is more important than any individual player. Yakupov will still get plenty of PP opportunities to boost his offense and the 3rd line will likely get almost as many minutes as the top 2 lines since Krueger likes to keep his lines fresh by constantly rolling out different lines.

What Krueger is trying to accomplish with these changes is balanced scoring over 3 lines so he can roll them out equally and to also play Yakupov with more defensive minded players so that he can afford to take chances with the safety net of Belanger and Paajarvi providing solid defensive support.
Also, by adding Hartikainen to RNH and Eberle line (something i've been suggesting for a while), that adds sandpaper to balance out the skill in the top 6.

Think about it.... Instead of depending on 2 lines for offense, Krueger can roll out 3 separate lines with Eberle, Hall then Yakupov coming at the defense in waves.
I applaud Krueger for recognizing the lack of balance, realizing that the lines as they were weren't working and doing something about it early enough in the season.
There are no guarantees that this approach will work but something had to be done.
I'm excited to see if this experiment works.
I can see every angle on this, and I'm a proponent of balanced scoring, but we're expecting a raw rookie in his first 10 games to now carry a line and be its offensive stalwart among two anchors that haven't popped their points cherry yet.

As far as chances, sustainability, etc. The Gagner line is a quickstrike lethal line. They are going to appear to have less chances than the topline but when they get them they are often home free lethal chances or plays where the D is broke down through repeated passing and puck control. When the players on this line get it going on the PP they've had good success. Paired with Schultz they'd have a whole lot better success.

Outside of the top two lines one of the chief problems with offense on this club is simply rarely having the puck in dangerous areas. You see a flash here or there but our bottom six control the puck less then most vet bottom sixes I've seen. We have enough vets in those spots as well where this shouldn't be a problem. which is why I've been heavily critical of Horc and Belanger who's center job it partly is to distribute, and sustain offense, as well as defensive play. They've really only worked one end of the ice to any effect. While largely nullifying any offense for the players they are with.

In the words of the immortal Petr Klima Yak will "need a very long stick to score from the bench" or own zone, or with no puck or cycle support whatsoever.

However you slice this we're taking our top scorer an burying him in bottom six rotation. Which could deepsix his confidence. We already have several forwards on this club snakebit.

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