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A wee bit of retooling - that's all


Canajun
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Guys, we have a very very good team here... Julien just needs to make a few adjustments and adopt a bit of a different mindset. I think we could be on the same level with Ottawa, if we just organize ourselves correctly. Gone needs to be the traditional mindset of "2 scoring lines, a checking line, and an 'energy' line". Where is it written in stone that that has to be how a team's lines are organized? While we don't have a line that can really compare to Ottawa's Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson (no team does, frankly). But I feel we have more depth and balance up front than the Senators.

I would suggest utilizing 3 scoring lines and 1 "shutdown" line and rolling these lines consistently, giving each line adequate minutes and spreading out the attack. Unleash wave upon wave unto the opposition - we can do it, and I think it would work. Let's look at my proposed lineup and compare to Ottawa's:

Zednik-Koivu-Kovalev : Scoring line # 1. It has all the elements needed - playmaking, snipers and the combativeness/toughness/grit provided by Zednik. Not quite on par with Heatley/Spezza/Alfredsson though. EDGE: SENS

Higgins-Ribeiro-Ryder : Scoring line # 2. I think Higgins is a very fine fit with this line. Gives it needed speed, grit, good skills and some defensive awareness it sorely needed. Ottawa's 2nd line I believe, is Havlat/Smolinski/Fisher. With the exception of Havlat, not a really huge deal. I'd give a slight edge to our line. EDGE: HABS

Bulis-Bonk-Begin : Shutdown line. Once Bonk gets going it gives us a nice mix of great defense, a bit of offense and some toughness in Begin (I think the shutdown line needs someone like Begin to keep the opposing team's scoring line on their toes). It's a toss-up compared to Ottawa's checking line of Schaefer-Vermette-Neil (is Neil on this line, or the 2nd line? Anyway...). I'll suppress my natural bias, be conservative and call this one even. EDGE: EVEN

Perezhogin-Plekanec-Sundstrom: Scoring line # 3. Turn the kids loose and let them show their skills.... I think they can do it. Throw in Sundstrom and you've got a bit more playmaking in there along with fine defensive play and good work along the boards. I'd take this line over Ottawa's 4th line of McGrattan-Kelly-Varada ANY day! EDGE: HABS

On defense, you have to give the overall edge to the Sens, I'm afraid. EDGE : SENS.

In goal, once Theodore gets himself together (which it appears he is doing), I'd take him over an aging (but still good, mind you) Hasek. EDGE: HABS.

All this being considered, there's no reason why the Habs can't handle the Sens, and any other team in the league. No reason at all. Julien just has to re-tool a bit... all the players and ingredients are there, just use them right. Spread the ice time around for our lines:

Scoring line # 1 : approx. 17 mins per game

Scoring line # 2 : approx. 14 mins per game

Scoring line # 3 : approx. 10 mins per game

Shutdown line : Needs to be out there against the Spezza line, so it'll probably get about 19 mins per game.

(this is based on a 'perfect world' where there is no PP/PK time and we split up 60 mins worth of icetime. Of course this would be different...but you get my drift).

We have the depth, we have the potential for a nicely balanced attack... let's USE it!

Let me hear your thoughts boys.

Canajun

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Great job... I haven't realy much to say about it as it seems you've covered all of it hehe.

Only thing is that Julien is known to play his top line(Zed-Koivu-Kovy) against the oppositions top line... Thus giving our 1st line extra playing time and a bit less to the "Shut-down" line.

I believe that Gainey, and other GMs are going to start paying some special attention to the Sens to figure out just how they can be beaten. I'm almost certain that Gainey will pull a trade that will improve the team, and give us an even better shot at beating the Sens.

Rumor has it that the NYR are looking to dump Tom Poti... however his negative(not certain if he's bad but..) attitude may night really be what this team needs though.

Either way, my guess is that we'd be on the look-out for a D-man or a guy who fits on the second line better than Higgins. I love Higgins on the 2nd line, and his worth ethic, but I also love his "shut-down" game as well.

Not being a big Ribeiro fan, I'd like to see the team bring in a better center for our 2nd line as well... lol. (Don't kill me)

Sorry if i went a bit off topic on the theme here, hehe, tiredness getting the best of me. Anywayz, there you have it.

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