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01-11-2007, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Fletch View Post
'didn't help much' may be strong, but when you have commodity-type players, there is a sense that there are a lot of players who can do that single-dimensional job and it's not that dynamic. Whereas if you have third liners who are going to score a bit, while providing that grit, you're talking about different players, and ones that are more valuable.

Again, for all the talk about Betts and how great he's been, this team has a losing record with him in the lineup going back to day 1. It is my belief that when he went down last January, the third line looked better because it played better together, and generated more offense (and became a plus line compared with a negative line). Ward, for all his faults, looks for other players on his line, resulting in more offense from the line as a whole. Betts doesn't look for other players. He will get his goals, that's a given, and he would be pretty much as productive on the fourth line with a couple less minutes. This is my main issue with the 'third' line. Last year this team had a great fourth line (the HMO line). Great. They produced about as much as you'd hope, they brought energy, cycling, support and good defense. I don't think this team has that line yet this season, and is still searching for optimal third liners.
You make some good points on the 3rd line and on the 4th line I defenitly agree.

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