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Line Combo at Practice this AM

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Old
03-10-2006, 11:20 AM
  #1
Calorissi
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Line Combo at Practice this AM

From Sportsnet Hockey Central:
11:37 AM: Arnason, Morrison on the ice
Both Tyler Arnason and Mike Morrison are on the ice with the Sens at Philips Arena this morning.
Arnason is centering a line with Daniel Alfredsson and Bryan Smolinski. Antoine Vermette has moved up to the right wing on the line with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley.


Interesting and it really makes me think that Havlat's return will look like this:

Heatley - Spezza - Havlat
Smolinski - Arnason - Alfredsson
Schaefer - Fisher - Neil
Vermette - Kelly - Eaves (Shubert back to 7th D, Varada Sitting, McGratton plays against tough teams).

That has some serious potential...

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Old
03-10-2006, 11:24 AM
  #2
NyQuil
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I've seen them play around with line combinations before, and then revert back to the old standards by game time.

Still, interesting info Calorissi!

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Old
03-10-2006, 12:07 PM
  #3
The Mars Volchenkov
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We're probably going to see a few line combos until Havlat comes back. I like that they might be giving Vermette another shot on a top line. He's earned it with his play lately.

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Old
03-10-2006, 12:29 PM
  #4
operasen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorissi
From Sportsnet Hockey Central:
11:37 AM: Arnason, Morrison on the ice
Both Tyler Arnason and Mike Morrison are on the ice with the Sens at Philips Arena this morning.
Arnason is centering a line with Daniel Alfredsson and Bryan Smolinski. Antoine Vermette has moved up to the right wing on the line with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley.


Interesting and it really makes me think that Havlat's return will look like this:

Heatley - Spezza - Havlat
Smolinski - Arnason - Alfredsson
Schaefer - Fisher - Neil
Vermette - Kelly - Eaves (Shubert back to 7th D, Varada Sitting, McGratton plays against tough teams).

That has some serious potential...
Has some nice depth on each set.. Alfie keeps Arnason honest on the defensive side as well and the change of pace by mixing up some right wings would be nice.

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Old
03-10-2006, 01:07 PM
  #5
Human Megaphone
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I like having Alfie and Smoke on his line at first, should help put to rest early any concerns about his off ice shenanigans.

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Old
03-10-2006, 03:11 PM
  #6
Golden Slumbers
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I wouldn't be surprised if Murray put Arnason with a couple of different linemates in his first few games, just to tinker and see if there is any initial chemistry. Let's face it, he's done it was all our other players, and is all a part of building a flexible team for the playoffs.

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Old
03-10-2006, 03:56 PM
  #7
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Do you think there is a chance that Fisher could be moved to the wing on one of the top two lines? Seems like a waste to have a player with that much speed, & work ethic to be only getting 3rd line ice time.

I loved that Schaefer-Fisher-Havlat line at the beginning of the season. I guess with the arrival of Arnason though it takes away the possibility of seeing that line again this season.

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Old
03-10-2006, 04:07 PM
  #8
NyQuil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonchar
Do you think there is a chance that Fisher could be moved to the wing on one of the top two lines? Seems like a waste to have a player with that much speed, & work ethic to be only getting 3rd line ice time.

I loved that Schaefer-Fisher-Havlat line at the beginning of the season. I guess with the arrival of Arnason though it takes away the possibility of seeing that line again this season.
The issue with making lines for the Ottawa Senators is trying to maximize your offensive potential by making best use of the players involved.

Simply taking the top 6 scorers and putting them on the top 2 lines doesn't always work.

The Ca$h line, when its working, works best because Heatley has no need to carry the puck, which divides the puck-carrying responsibilities among the other two players. (Works even better when all three players have relatively equal pass/shoot ratios, keeps the defense guessing, you hear that Spezza? SHOOT!)

From what I've seen, Fisher plays best when he's one of the major puck carriers on his line. Putting him with Havlat is counter-productive at times because Havlat also likes to skate with the puck and bring it in the zone. Vermette may also be a player in this category. Schaefer appears to work equally well with Fisher or Havlat.

Fisher can also play an energy/grind game and can be a physical force when needed. In some ways, that's better suited to the 3rd line, and his outside speed and acceleration is best suited to when he's playing centre, because he can rip around opposing players to either side and drive in on net. If he plays the wing, he's hampered somewhat by the boards, where a guy like Eaves and Schaefer seems to flourish.

I honestly don't think the 2nd line with Arnason will necessarily get more icetme than the 3rd line with Fisher, if that's how it works out. Fisher may be matched up against opposing team's better lines, which could hamper his production, but he produces a lot of offense from turnovers using his speed.

So, employing the players strengths and tendencies, how would I go?

Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson
Eaves/Smolinski-Arnason-Havlat
Schaefer-Fisher-Smolinski/Eaves
Vermette-Kelly-Neil/Schubert/McGrattan/Varada

Every line has a puck carrier, a playmaker and a grinder/floater. Obviously, some players can assume more than one role, but you get the idea.

Puck Carrier - Alfredsson, Havlat, Fisher, Vermette
Playmaker - Spezza, Arnason, Schaefer, Kelly
Grinder/Floater - Heatley, Eaves, Smolinski, Neil/Schubert/McGrattan/Varada

You still maximize the offensive talent on the top 2 lines, as opposed to Jacques Martin's 4 equal lines of offense. It just so happens that this team has a lot more offensive depth than past teams.

Note: I've noticed that some have swapped Havlat and Alfredsson. I think Smolinski and Alfredsson should be separated, if possible, as they are among the more defensively minded of our forwards.

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Old
03-10-2006, 04:26 PM
  #9
NyQuil
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Incidentally, how about special teams?

Scenario 1:

PP1:
Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson
Redden-Meszaros

PP2:
Vermette/Fisher/Schaefer-Arnason-Havlat
Chara-Pothier

Pros:
-Cash line should generate some chemistry
-Both forward lines have speed and skill
-Both defensive pairings have an outlet passer, good shots, and defensive acumen

Issues:
-Chara usually plays the right side even though he's a left-handed shot
-Is Meszaros steady enough on the right side yet?
-You lose Alfredsson's shot from the point

Scenario 2:

PP1:
Heatley-Spezza-Havlat
Redden-Alfredsson

P2:
Vermette/Schaefer/Fisher/Smolinski-Arnason-Neil
Chara-Pothier

Pros:
-First unit has an immense amount of skill
-Second unit can be oriented around defensive shots, with Neil crashing the net

Issues:
-No bonified goal scorer on the 2nd unit
-Too many puck handlers on the 1st unit can cause confusion

Scenario 3:

PP1:
Heatley-Spezza-Neil
Redden-Alfredsson

PP2:
Vermette/Schaefer/Smolinski/Fisher-Arnason-Havlat
Chara-Pothier

Pros:
-First unit takes advantage of Alfredsson's shot but leaves a goal scorer on the 2nd unit

Issues:
-First unit slightly weaker in skill overall than the other scenarios, and will largely monopolize the PP time

Comments:

-I prefer Vermette to Fisher/Schaefer but the latter might provide a little more grind for the corners. I just think giving space and time to Antoine on the PP suits him. However, Vermette and Kelly are probably the top PK tandem so perhaps this is unlikely.

-I really think giving Neil a shift on the PP again could do some good. It's what got him going in the early stages in the season and he can stand in the crease like nobody's business.

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Old
03-10-2006, 04:33 PM
  #10
Lonnie Loach
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NyQuil
Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson
Eaves/Smolinski-Arnason-Havlat
Schaefer-Fisher-Smolinski/Eaves
Vermette-Kelly-Neil/Schubert/McGrattan/Varada

Those are damn good combos. Sure we can't get you to take over the reigns from Murray ?

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Old
03-10-2006, 04:36 PM
  #11
NyQuil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie Loach
Those are damn good combos. Sure we can't get you to take over the reigns from Murray ?
I can't drop the "f-bombs" like our glorious leader.

They're pretty similar to Calorissi's actually.

Interestingly, when thinking about Eaves or Smolinski on the 2nd line, it's tricky, because Smolinski is more defensively responsible (which helps out Havlat and Arnason) but he's also much slower (like Arnason).

Eaves may be a rookie but at least you don't have two of the slower skaters out there together (if the scouting report on Tyler A. is accurate)

In which case, who else is tempted to try Vermette-Arnason-Havlat, and then stash Smolinski/Eaves on the 4th line with Kelly? Antoine is defensively responsible AND fast, but he'd have to be the grinder on the line and it definitely might not work out in terms of chemistry. You would also lose some offensive balance.


Last edited by NyQuil: 03-10-2006 at 04:51 PM.
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Old
03-10-2006, 08:08 PM
  #12
aragorn
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Nice avatar NyQuil.

Heatley - Spezza - Alfredson - I expect this will be their main line in the playoffs.
Smolinski - Arnason - Havlat -Smoke must gel with Arnason sooner rather than later.
Schaefer - Fisher - Niel - don't fix what ain't broke.
Kelly - Vermette - Varada - Varada needs to turn it up 2 notches to stick.

I would think that the veteran Smoke will start the playoffs on the 2nd line and be the defensive concience on this line. As much as I didn't like trading Bochenski the Sens needed a centre who can get the puck to Havlat, I hope Arnason is that guy. The fact that he is an RFA means we could get another year out of him or more if he works out, if not, we package him to move down in the draft.

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