I'm not personally advocating for keeping them together or splitting them up.
Just advocating that I think both of them should put more effort in on the defensive side of the puck.
Watch Kessel when our team has the puck. He is leaning forward skating as hard as possible.
Backchecking? Half the time he is literally standing more or less erect just gliding back towards our zone. With his speed and ability to read plays, he could be a pretty solid defensive player if he wanted to be. Datsyuk is arguably the best two-way player in the world, and he's under 6 feet tall, so it's not Kessel's lack of physical abilities holding him back defensively.
There is no reason Kessel cannot become a better defensive player.
Really is up to the player. Maybe they should see if they could convince Keon to talk to Kessel. Small guy big heart good defender who could score, won Conn Smythe as an all around player.
It is obvious any competent coach will try and make the team better and if splitting up Lupul and Kessel would do that all the whinging and crying by fans wouldn't even register.
Too bad Kessel isn't a center, he wouldn't have been given a pass on the defensive side of the puck because he's a good sniper.
Would you split up Lupul and Kessel, probably not. Team doesn't have the depth to mess with the little that is working.
He was the Leafs' leading scorer in the 1963–64, 1966–67 and 1969–70 seasons, and the team's top goal scorer in 1970–71 and 1972–73. Keon was considered one of the fastest skaters in the NHL, and one of the best defensive forwards of his era. He would usually play against the opposing team's top centre, and developed a reputation for neutralizing some of the league's top scorers. In 1970–71, he scored eight shorthanded goals, setting an NHL record.
He's inconsistent when it comes to the bolded. WHEN he does it, he's shown that he can be reasonably effective. When he doesn't do it, he's obviously not at all effective.
His avoidance of physical contact obviously plays a big role when set up in the defensive zone itself.
I think he's afraid of being hit. I think he's tougher than he realizes, his first game back when Ohlund (IIRC) nailed him showed he can get up after a hit. Grabovski jumping up after getting hit should be an inspiration to him.
Maybe he needs to get hit a few more times to get past that tendency to give up the puck.
i think it take lupul + kessel to make bozak not look out of place on the 1st line. i like bozak a lot but i think most would agree he is a 3rd line center on a good team, possibly a 2nd line center.
when a line is able to produce 2 ppg players i dont see the logic in splitting it up. i think the addition of jvr will give carlyle an opportunity to try and get a second line going. had kulemin-grabs-mac repeated last season what they did before then perhaps things would be different but with grabs new multi year contract i think they have to find a way to get him going at the same time as the lupul/kessel line, not instead of.
one of the things that annoyed me a lot when wilson was coach was the amount of tinkering he did to the lineup. let players develop chemistry and figure each other out. sometimes that takes more then 3 shifts and if you find players that are magic together build from it, dont take it apart to hope to find magic with other players.
im optimistic that lupul-bozak-kessel will be great again once hockey restarts. im also hopeful that jvr-grabs will be a good combination. the 3rd player on that line is what will make the difference in the line being really special or just average. i suspect carlyle will want to put kulemin in that spot to add size but i think mac would be the better fit or dare i say kadri when the time comes
So because some of us would rather keep Kessel and Lupul together that means;
We don't like defense
We're only interested in goals
We care more about personal stats over wins
Ever think we'd like to keep Kessel and Lupul together and see the other lines improve. You know, maybe those 2 continue to score at a ppg pace, they play better defense and we get wins. Maybe we'd like to have our cake and eat it too.
Gotta love this place. Always dealing in absolutes.
"You don't want to split Lupul and Kessel up? Well I guess you don't like winning."
As if following through with that is guaranteed to make the team better.
well when you consider our top line became a negative 5on5 after Nov 8th there's no reason why they should have finished the last 52 games together till Lupul got hurt. they can play together on the PP but they should have been split up 5on5. on Nov 8th Kessel's +/- was at his highest +10 Lupul was a +8 at the time, over the next 52 games lupul was a -7 and Kessel was a -11. I don't think it's a coincidence that as our top line +/- went up in the first 14 games the team also went up in the standings as they were sitting in 2nd overall on Nov 8th, and from nov 8th on as there +/- started to fade I also don't believe it's a coincidence that the team started to fade in the standings.
imo if over a month period of games a line is a negative something should be changed to see if something else works better, they never tried anything else other then a couple of games they moved Bozak and Connolly in and out. this failure is one of many that cost Wilson his job, and why we fell down the standings. it's beyond stupid imo to keep sending out a line that is a negative overall 5on5, for 52 straight games regardless of how well there doing offensively.
one other thing I would like to add is how are Washington doing in the playoffs with Ovie and Semin(in the past) who basically didn't care about defense ethier? and Ovie is clearly on another level then Kessel and Semin has shown to be on Kessel's level.
Honestly folks. We really don't know what's in store when Randy Carlyle makes the starting rosters for the season. It could be that he likes Lupul and Kessel together. The last couple of years the problem with Toronto has been their scoring depth and defensive play of the top 6. Usually one line was scoring and the other struggled. The only constant has been Kessel. He has scored even when his line mates were Crabb and Bozak. Many argue that the success of Kessel / Lupul was the Ron Wilson's run and gun philosophy. What will those two be like when they are in a more defensive system? Are they defensive enough to be on one line together?
I say split them up. If Lupul is as good as you say he is then he will find his scoring touch on the 2nd line. We know that Kessel will get 30 + goals no matter what. I think that creating a balance is key and taking less defensive liabilities off of the same line might help in the Win Column.
What do you think?
What are your Carlyle rosters as opposed to your Wilson ones?
This team has issues the combo of lupul and kessel is not one of them lets keep what works together fix what doesn't
I really don't see why we cannot have the best of both worlds. Keep Kessel and Lupul together for offensive purposes and build a strong third line that shuts down and intimidates. If we really are so set on making the team better defensivly then our concerns should be with better decisions by our defenders and a stronger presence in net, as well as a third line that is hard to play against. The only thing I wish Kessel would do is use his speed to his advantage and skate to his own end and be more aggresive with his poke checks.
I really don't see why we cannot have the best of both worlds. Keep Kessel and Lupul together for offensive purposes and build a strong third line that shuts down and intimidates.
If we really are so set on making the team better defensivly then our concerns should be with better decisions by our defenders and a stronger presence in net, as well as a third line that is hard to play against.
The only thing I wish Kessel would do is use his speed to his advantage and skate to his own end and be more aggresive with his poke checks.
With the depth in the system there is no reason why players can't be moved around.
Lupul can play anywhere in the top 6. He's probably at the peak of his career now, and since the rebuild has several more years to go, perhaps it might make the most sense to move him now. From the peak there is only one direction to go, and it isn't up.
See if they can bring in a player 3-5 years younger who can grow with the new crop of blue chippers in the system.
And yes, Kessel still have quite a bit of improving to do with his overall game. He needs to be more efficient in clearing the puck and protecting the defensive zone. It's about winning, and I'm sure he'd gladly give up some goals or assists to win more.