I just would like to respond to what you said Edge about if we're winning why change it. But there are some things that work only because of smoke and mirrors and are destined to fail with time. A good example was a FLY line, if someone foresaw the demise of that line and changed that line up before we started losing games due to its ineffectiveness, wouldn't that be a good move? Maybe if you forsee that in the future a line will be ineffective it would be better to change things up before they that happens and it costs us points and spots in the standings.
Problem is the solution is not a given. And sometimes winning comes down to hot streaks and people clicking.
Now I understand what you mean and I think you're pointing towards being "proactive" in lines, the problem is you always run the risk of ending up with nothing.
In theory you switch the two centers and you end up with two scoring lines and two checking lines. However you run the risk of creating two lines that can't defend worth a lick and two lines that can't score if the net were made for soccor.
Sometimes in theory a line looks good because players play a similar game but other times opposites attract.
Now if you try something, you win and it works. To some extent you go with it. The difference between smoke and mirrors and being reactionary is pretty big for me. I think smoke mirrors is something that barely does what it is supposed to. I think a lot of lines from the past 8 years have done that. However I think rotating the lines and riding hot combos and clicks isn't a bad thing. In fact that was one thing we all were worried WASN'T going to happen before the season started.
Is Rucchin the answer? No one knows, but for 2 of 3 games it worked and it may have run its course. I think what it comes down to is being open to different ideas. For all we know Renney has already tried the combo in practice and thought Rucchin looked better between them.
That's one element everyone fails to mention around here, that Renney see's these guys practice and for all we know Nylander looked horrible between the two so for the moment he went a different route.
There are still almost 40 games left, we're gonna see a lot more mixing and matching before this one is done.
for me, it is more than numbers (I'm not an accountant, and what the heck is a marketing guy like you doing in a law firm (no offense Laches and Servo)) - and sorry my answer made it seem like it's all numbers - I wanted to make it as simple as possible. The numbers are just one aspect. I need to be as flexible as possible and consider many variables other than the numbers and, as you said (not directly), be creative. I have to sit there and figure out how something needs to be sold - and to do that, you need to be a cynic, and while I need to bring out every positive (but can't sound like I'm giving off too much BS because the guys I deal with are much smarter than me and are managing a heck of a lot of other people's money) I need to flush out every negative and get off as much hair as possible so the portfolio manager cannot poke holes in the story. I try to make 2+2 to equal 5 (funny I should type that - I just read your second paragraph). When I tell the story, I need to spin the positives while bringing out the negatives in a mitigating way - to show that all the bases were covered. That's how I approach this sometimes.
I came from a marketing/PR background. I switched professions about a year and a half ago when I got my law degree. I work for a law firm based in Vegas and D.C. right now. So yeah I sold my soul
The first thing I learned out of law school was to throw everything I learned in law school out the window and that sometimes reality does not follow logic, no matter how many times the facts are reviewed. But yeah I can see where you are coming from.
Let me answer your second paragraph a different way. Things are working and the team is winning - albeit over a three game stretch - hopefully it continues against these next three teams because the road ahead is tough. But if this team has an opportunity to change something to improve (like through a trade), say Rucinsky for a younger, better player (can't even think of one off the top of my head - but let's say the trade exists) - do you make the trade? You may say that's different - but it's changing something up to make the overall picture better - like the Rangers being #1 overall in the league and changing the makeup of the team at the trade deadline. That's all I was suggesting that be done. I watched a bit of Edmonton again - and it's frustrating because the three seem to have little chemistry. I watched Sykora's goal - and man was that one of the flukier goals I've seen in a while. If it ain't broke, you don't fix it - I hear the saying, and understand and have actually used those words on occasion - but there's no problem tweaking here and there if you think it's going to be better.
And I don't think tweaking is a bad thing when the opportunity presents itself. If the line comes out flat, sure go for it and try something else. But while it was working you go with it for that little bit.
Renney, unlike previous coaches, seems to have a knack for seeing things in his practices. My best guess is that he took looks at Nylander in that second line spot and didn't like what he saw as much as he did with Rucchin there. The great coaches in hockey history understand that sometimes a lucky line is just as good for a short stretch as a line that is overloaded with talent. Really there is no proof that Nylander def. works better in that spot and for the first two games, both lines were producing better than they were before. I don't think Nylander makes the second line any more dynamic, if anything I think his occasional bone headed plays makes it more liable. So the question becomes do you accept that liability for the chance it might produce a little more? On the third line it seemed to shut teams down just as well as before but also had the ability to do something with the puck as well. Do you take that offense away to only be marginally better defensivly?
I think these are the questions one asks and Renney's answer was that he'd rather try this for the moment and I don't think it was a particularly far fetched idea. It worked well for two-games. But I also think it's a bit unfair in the judgement. On the one hand they're together two games so if they don't click their is obviously no chemistry. Yet if Nylander were there we'd be arguing for patience to let the line gell.
It also comes down to gambling, like anything else. You throw a line together and whether it's luck or whatever, they produce something. In fact both the second and third lines have shown something. So the million dollar question becomes, if the lines can be better, by how much? Do you take apart two lines, that luck or whatnot have worked for some reason, and try something else? Now what if that doesn't work, despite the theory that it should? Now you've broken a connection or any "luck" and you're left with two lines that have less than what you started with. Now on the flip side, maybe you're long term planning is to switch the centers but for the time being you're winning and its working. You haven't abandoned that plan, but you ride something as long as you can some points from it. But at the end of the day, the goal is to win and if you're winning you're not desperate to change something. That doesn't mean you won't or arent thinking about, it means you understand that these guys aren't robots. In hockey history there have been a ton of ideas that seemed good or logical or "Better" but maybe 1 or 2% work. That's one reason winning is so hard. Sometimes the obvious choices arent the ones that work and sometimes lucky is better than good for stretches.
And I'm not sure that 20...30...40 games have gone by and the team's been successful against my ideas. So I guess you don't see a need to improve on the PP because despite it, the team keeps winning? You're fine with this team's defense because despite it, the GAA of at least one goalie is respectable?
But there is a difference there Fletch. You're pointing to things that HAVEN'T worked. They are in their current state not working. What I'm talking about is something that HAS worked for now and when it doesn't can be improved.
To make that argument you'd have to be able to point to the Rucchin line not working. Not producing and going three games with nothing to show for it. But that hasn't happened.
To highlight your example we'd again have to tweak it. It'd have to be the equivalent to the Rangers putting Hollweg on the PP to do nothing but stand in front of the net. Now it might not be the long term solution but if it worked for a stretch, you'd go with it? Is there room for improvement? You bet, but you wouldn't race out there and dismantle it as quickly as if you put Hollweg out there and the PP went 0-12. It all comes back down to timing.
And just as I put out the Philly example in regards to goaltending - the team did lose. So I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't harp on a bad power play. Maybe I shouldn't expect Lundqvist to get the lion's share of starts and play against top teams (even though he did the last three games oddly enough). I didn't think those were out of line. Heck, bring back Hossa - this team is 20-15 with him in the lineup - maybe he's a good luck charm.
I think that example is over the top personally.
The team's problem has been defense and now we're criss crossing and intertwining arguments. The Rangers problems in those games was defense, NOT scoring. A goalie doesn't give up 8 goals in two games because the second line isn't scoring. That's like pointing to a team's pitching saying "They've given 17 runs in the last games because they're batting .300". They're not related. Now if you had games where this team lost 2-1 or 1-0 than yes you could relate that back to scoring. But it doesn't matter who is out there, if you're giving up 8 goals in two games and playing crappy defense the best second line in the world isn't going to help. The second line scored. However this team can't expect it's top lines to score 6 points every night to overcome the 5 it gives up. If that's what it comes down to the team is in big trouble. Again if we could point to the second line producing nothing, i am totally in agreement with you. But that HASN'T been the problem.
And since you brought up Hossa as an example, we can use as a perfect example. When he was scoring the Rangers used him because whatever reason, he was producing. When he stopped, they went with the more optimal option. That's no different than here. No one is asking the team to throw Rucchin out there if it stops working, but while it's working you go with it. And like Hossa, if it stops working you go a different route. These combos aren't set in stone. Not with these players and not in the month of January. Hossa is the perfect example of how much things change in an 80 game schedule.
And of course I haven't said 'everything is wrong'. I'm just commenting on what I think could be better. Like I said, I'm not a big rah, rah guy. I give credit where credit is due, especially at work. I can recognize and appreciate a good effort. But I like to dig deep. You call it overanalyzing. I call it being thorough.
But there is also a point where you dig so deep that you dig right past what you were looking for. Thorough is a good thing, but you also gotta be careful of not seeing the forest for the trees.
I think the reason why Renney went with Rucchin initially wasn't because of something he saw in practice, rather it was the fact that Rucchin played with Sykora in about 30 games two seasons ago - I remember that being mentioned. Sounds reasonable, but so often we see a player like Sykora being moved and light it up in his first couple games with guys he's never played with. Almost seems as though he did it as a test since after one game in which the line didn't produce, he changed it up. Perhaps he too didn't see the flow, otherwise he wouldn't have changed after one game. I do agree though that Renney seems to at least see things that other coaches didn't - be it in practice, in the game, or studying on the game tapes.
And I agree there is no proof. Never said there was hard evidence. But when Sykora was acquired I stated that, in my opinion, Nylander would work best. This team needed a second line to supplement its first line, I had thought. I understand the balancing with defense/offense, etc., but to me, Nylander's the superior playmaker. To me, his skills are better suited with two skilled guys and would bring the maximum potential out of a line. Further, I think Rucchin's lost a few steps (and against a fast team like Columbus - he struggled to keep up, except once on the cycle, I thought the three did a very good job - and it was often). Rucchin's still a smart defensive player. Pairing him with two faster wingers, who are competent defensively and can pitch in an odd goal while going against top lines, I thought, made a lot of sense and gave the Rangers four lines that made a lot of sense. I don't mean to say the 'what ifs'...I'm really going from day 1 what my thoughts were, and those thoughts continued through the third game, since the debate went on for about three games.
And honestly, Nylander's going to make the bonehead play on the second or third line. Rucchin's going to be slow on the second or third line (he could've done a lot better on two goals against in Columbus - and that was on a defensive line). Further, I don't think it's uncommon to have a real checking line. I don't think it's uncommon to have a real second line with three offensive-minded guys. I further believe that the offensive increase, over time, would exceed any defensive decreases, which in the end, would be marginal, I believe (not sure I want Nylander and his penchant for taking penalties going against top lines - it's a recipe for more, I believe).
And finally, I agree that this team has defensive problems. There's defensive lapses all over, even from Rucchin who at times just can't keep up (again, like at Columbus). But this team's defense isn't getting any better. Might as well try to score more goals than the opponent, which I believe could be accomplished with Nylander as the second line center.
Actually, finally, with Hossa...he stopped working long before he stopped being used. I'm not sure if Hossa can be used as an example for anything.