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11-21-2013, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by The Zetterberg Era View Post
Don't know how many times we will have to cover this today, but don't think Datsyuk is the top line. Certainly it is still sickening that Cleary is in the top 6, but I don't know how you could call that our #1 line, just like Filppula - Zetterberg - Hudler was actually our #1 line several years back, both in terms of how other teams deployed their defense against it and performance 5 on 5.
When 13 and 40 are separated their ice time at even strength is always very similar, so calling either the top line is right and wrong. Detroit loses the 1st line/2nd line talk and becomes a team that plays 2 lines as top lines.

The big difference in the last couple of years is that Babcock has switched in the regular season and given Datsyuk the assignments against opposing top lines rather than Z. In the case of bigger, physical centers (particularly Backes), Babcock gives Z the assignment. That's been the case now at home for 2-3 years.

Regardless, the whole point is that Dan Cleary should be near neither of these lines, period.

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