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02-13-2013, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by bogans View Post
You keep saying this, I think you are unclear on the typical setup of a team's four lines. I know this is not the way it is required to be set up, but teams often do this, because it is seems to provide the best matchups.

First line - most talented scorers, often contains some size for protection and grinding ability to work the puck out of the dirty places and set up stars. Can be on the ice at any time, but if you get an opportunity to throw them on against tired legs or defensive liabilities these are the guys you choose. Also, these are usually your guys taking the offensive zone faceoffs, and virtually never the defensive zone starts due to their typical lack of defensive acumen.

Second line - secondary scorers, set up much the same way as the first, but often with a bit more responsible players in their own end. Typically deploy them if you first line is too tired for the offensive zone faceoff, but also if your checking line is too tired for the defensive zone faceoff. Often you can get them matched up against the less defensively responsible players on the other team as they are focused the star powered top line, which can lead to bolstered statistics.

Checking line - These are the guys you want to match up against the other team's first line. Your most talented and hard working defensively responsible players belong here. They start virtually every shift in their own zone against the Crosbys, Tavareses, and Eliases of the world. While some may argue that the best defense is a good offense and puck possession, it is difficult to expect the other team's best players to not have much, if any, possession of the puck. And that is how you get caught with Richards and Gaborik coasting around and trying to protect a lead in their own zone. This is where Brian Boyle comes out to be so valuable. Crosby will not always be pinned in his own zone, and when he is possessing the puck in your zone, you need guys like Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Darryl Powe, etc. to hunt them down and get in front of their shots/passes. Every once in a while, the player son this line will chip in with some points, but these should all be considered bonus points as they often come against the best players on the other team. Everybody would love a 60 point third liner, but if you find one, I would bet they are truly more of a second liner, or will become one soon.

Fourth line - Energy, board play, special teams, young guys getting a shot. This is not where you put your most defensively responsible forwards because that means they usually will end up playing with guys like Kreider, or Asham, who often look like pylons. Short shifts for energy boosts.
This is a very good analysis and I agree with most of it. The problem is Boyle's skating (he's not good at hunting down; he tries to block passes and shots). He is not good enough on his skates to take the puck away even if he is fortunate enough to find himself in a position to do so.

He has been getting defensive minutes the last couple of years due to necessity (weakness in our center position). However, he does not skate well enough to be a long term solution to the need for a shut down center. Same with Stepan. However, Miller can be that guy. I don't know what the team will do with Miller but if Boyle centers our third line we have two 4th lines. Also, you assume you can always get the matchups you want and even at home because of double shifting and the like this is easier said than done. To be a top notch team you want three lines that can pressure you opponents offensively. Most teams 3rd D pair is pretty weak. The ability to exploit this is extremely valuable.

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