Yeah I'd be weary about splitting up that second line when they were finally looking good, and I'm not a fan of sticking Yakupov with Vande Velde, but they had to do something. I imagine if things don't go well they'll switch Yakupov and Hartikainen.
Given the fact that Krueger likes to roll his lines, I don't think it's a huge deal if Yak is playing on the 3rd. Krueger is likely just looking to get a little more balance on each line.
Could also be about getting Yak a bit more puck possession. When he plays with Hemsky and Gagner they, especially Ales, will be the guys carrying the puck, which is the way it should be imo.
If he plays with VV and MPS he'll be the one they're looking at for offense which could benificial for him and also might get him to shoot more. And I like the pace Mags and Yaks can provide together, VV/Belanger will have a hard time keeping up...
Also, Hall and Hemsky usually works well together.
And it sort of makes it obvious that Smyth is on the fourth line where he should be, kinda like Holmström for the last couple of seasons in Detroit, fourth line and special teams. Ofc Homer only played PP.
If it doesn't work out they can always swap back.
Do we know anything about the D pairings btw? Fistric back?
Having Yak play his preferred position can't be too bad. It's a shame he has to play with lesser players, but it would be grossly unfair to demote Hemsky to the third line. If anyone should have been demoted based on their play so far, it should have been Eberle.
It's not about being fair or unfair. It's about getting wins. People lose sight of this being a team sport. If Yak or Hemsky on the third line means more wins for the team and fewer points for him, so be it.
Yakapov's defensive mind is very strong IMO so maybe thats what they are going for plus getting that third line scoring. Pretty much making Yakapov the quarterback of his own line. Doesn't hurt to try I guess.
The fact is no one is scoring at ES. Something has to be done.
This is it exactly it. We're going to go into tomorrow's game with Detroit sitting dead last at ES GF. With all this fire power and all this top young talent, we cannot seem to buy an ES goal to save our lives.
Something needed to be done and it was the right call. Sucks that Yak has to go to the third line, but I'm sure he will still get top PP time.
<-- Credit goes to The Nemesis.