If I'm not mistaken, you're the writer that has no sympathy. Which is good, people need to know what's wrong with the team. However, I think that this is simply a slide, starting primarily with, dare I say it, emotion. Obviously losing games is hard on morale, and as they add up, it gets worse. If this team breaks this slide tonight, I think we still have a strong season ahead of us. This is a high powered offense, and a formerly proven defense. I think it's safe to say that this is a phase, and at the very least this is a better team than last year's. That being said, let's look at these lines. Good things: Mayers centering the third line. Mayers play has blown away my expectations, and since nothing can really get worse, I think good things will happen with his increase of ice time. On top of that, Bolland has earned that second line. Hopefully his production stays up, Chief Blackhawk knows we need it. Stalberg shouldn't be on the fourth line. Not while he's as hot as he is right now. This blog seems to think it's a phase, but he's been playing his ass off all season long. He's penetrating (that's what she said), winning board battles, passing, and annoying the netminder. However, Shaw up front could be a good thing. He reminds me of Carcillo, just smarter. And smaller. Hopefully his energy and physicality can create space for Kane and Toews to produce, similar to the Carcillo-Kane-Hoss line. Bad things: Bickell and Frolik on the third line. Fro's earned about a 4th line spot, and Bickell's earned Rockford thus far. Kruge and Stalb have earned third, and I think, with the aforementioned players, Stalb-Mayers-Kruge would potentially produce some secondary scoring. That line would be gritty and fast, winning the majority of board battles and netting garbage goals like no one's business. Now here are some far more intelligent lines. Too bad Q won't see this. Stalberg-Toews-Sharp Hayes/Shaw-Kane-Hossa Hayes/Shaw-Bolland-Frolik Brunette-Mayers-Bickell/Smith The first line works, because Sharp can win boards on both sides of the ice. Toews will just be Toews, as always, and Stalberg’s impressive speed and newfound elusiveness can penetrate the D. The second line, ideally, works because Hayes or Shaw, who both shoot right (yes, I know Hayes is normally a RW) can bring the physicality and energy that Carcillo once brought. creating space and winning board battles. Then, ideally, Kane and Hoss will have space to relight that fire we saw from them earlier this year. The third is a physical, defensively responsible line that also has the potential to add some secondary scoring with Bolland and either Hayes or Shaw. And the fourth, Bruno, if he ever gets down the ice, can park in front of the net and allow Mayers underrated shooting and either Bickell or Smith to rip some shots. On top of being a physical line. And given that Bruno gets healthy. Replace Bruno with random forward for tonight. Kane was solid at second line center. He was defensively responsible, far more than he is at wing, and was winning faceoffs for a while. It did eventually dip below 50%, but that can be worked on. Morrison, in my opinion, was a trade just to make a trade. Package him up with 2 prospects and a pick, and lets get a serious d man to play with Hjalm, and cut Leddy's ice time as a 5th d man. Of course, I know acquiring players isn't that simple, but the blue line is somewhere that we can definitely improve, even by adding one player.
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