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Manwolf

Forward Lines and Power Play v2010-11

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Got to say, Cole made a few things happen last night...

Maybe so, but I'd prefer Samsonov on that top line based on recent play. At least I'd give him the opportunity. I still wouldn't make the change right now given the last 4 games.

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I think it more so this year, sure his point's arent there but the intangibles are. I dunno how he doesn't have more assists to be honest with ya. This is the first year I think he's put the neck injury behind him and has gone back to being a power forward. It's been a long time since he's burned a defensemen down the boards.

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I think Cole has unreasonable scoring expectations attached to him based off of two years where the whole league's numbers were up and the Canes were playing a more up-tempo game. I also think the whole injury line of reasoning is bogus.

Yeah he was a PPG player in 05-06. Cheechoo scored 50+ goals that year, Staal was over 100 pts...etc. A lot of career years. If you look at the 3 years before the lockout he averaged 0.5 pts per game. That's about where he's been the last few years (last year he was injured but still close to 0.5 per game). He was over 50 points both seasons after the injury, above where he was those three seasons. In 08-09 he was back to that level.

Some folks seem to think that 1st line = scoring and each guy on the line should have at least 60-70 points. That's not how this team is built or coached, and it's not reasonable to expect that from Cole. As has been noted, he plays a physical game, he is not a pure scorer. For a few seasons he put up bigger numbers than average but since that was at a time numbers were up around the league its fair to say that had a lot to do with it. Also, the Canes system at the time was built with Lavi's up-tempo style, not Mo's more defensive style. Probably not a coincidence those first three years were also under Maurice.

Putting Cole on the third line would be a waste. I think the Skinner-Staal-Cole line will prove to be a winner if Mo will leave it that way for a while (though I'd still love to see Skinner at center for a few games to see how that would work).

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I think Cole has unreasonable scoring expectations attached to him based off of two years where the whole league's numbers were up and the Canes were playing a more up-tempo game. I also think the whole injury line of reasoning is bogus.

Putting Cole on the third line would be a waste. I think the Skinner-Staal-Cole line will prove to be a winner if Mo will leave it that way for a while (though I'd still love to see Skinner at center for a few games to see how that would work).

One way to adjust for league wide tendencies is to rank players each year and see what their relative success has been. During his best years Cole was #45 and #46 in the league in goals. Now, even with the goal last night, he is around #150.

But you are right, you don't need to be a goal scorer to be on the top line. One would think, however, that you would then need to be an assist guy. Cole has never been that. There is a role for a guy who can bang and hit. It's the 3rd or 4th line.

It is not Cole's fault that he is a non first liner on the first line. The first line musical chairs is because after Staal we have no first liners, with the possible exception of Jussi.

On our team Cole is fine on the second line, and the Ruutu/Cole/Skinner line was doing great. It was broken up because Staal was playing with third liners also, and he was getting tired of it and asked for Skinner.

So, I'd recreate that Cole/Skinner/Ruutu line. Put Jussi up with Staal. Right now this team is Staal, Skinner, Jussi, Ruutu and a bunch of third liners. It's not Cole's fault that he's one of them.

Edited by remkin

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... I'd recreate that Cole/Skinner/Ruutu line. Put Jussi up with Staal. Right now this team is Staal, Skinner, Jussi, Ruutu and a bunch of third liners. It's not Cole's fault that he's one of them.

I agree with this, and think Mo's tinkering has had a negative impact. Samsonov played very hard last night, but got little help from his mates. Put him back in the top six.

As for the bottom six, give the line of Carter, Bodie and <yournamehere> more ice time! Sorry Rosie, Dwyer and Cole but your time should be diminished.

Also, watch film of the Habs PP, since they took the Canes to school. Fix the special teams!!!

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Also, watch film of the Habs PP, since they took the Canes to school. Fix the special teams!!!

explains why the Habs are 11th on the PP and the Canes are 28th on the PK

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We went into the season one top 6 winger short and that remains our biggest problem IMO. If you put the Jet line back together you have Ruutu and Cole on the same line. The only two wingers big and fast enough to play power forward. Unless Jussi gets it going we remain a scoring forward down. In spite of this the team is still hanging around.

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Ultimately it's like a Rubic's cube. Every time we try to slide one piece over it creates problems elsewhere. I (and others) keep saying we have a bunch of third liners, but really we can put together respectable 2nd and 3rd lines. The problem is the top line. We don't really have one. That is not an easy problem to fix. It also makes Staal's stats all the more impressive, and it makes it hard to get too down on Mo for me at least.

Edited by remkin

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Repost from my question on the MTL game day thread.

One thing I do not understand about Mo's coaching style is if a particular offensive strategy does not seem to be working, he changes lines instead of changing strategy. The constant tinkering with lines does not seem to have a positive long term effect.

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Repost from my question on the MTL game day thread.

One thing I do not understand about Mo's coaching style is if a particular offensive strategy does not seem to be working, he changes lines instead of changing strategy. The constant tinkering with lines does not seem to have a positive long term effect.

I didn't understand the line shifting so early in the Montreal game. I would have let them play a while longer before I started moving players around. But most games we have one line that is working among the top three lines. Got to do something to try and get them going and it's easier to switch a player than a system. But at sometime I would think we will need to set our lines or make some team player changes.

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Mo has made a complete mess of the forward lines. Time to take responsibility and stop blaming the refs.

Put Skinner back with Ruutu at Center, and Cole on the wing. Surround Staal with Jussi and Sergei, or (Heaven forbid) put him on wing with Sutter at center.

Drop the entire 3rd line to 4th, and play Bodie/Carter on 3rd. Give them more minutes, and get a tired Staal of the ice - those shifts are too long and too frequent.

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There may be a hint of truth to Mo's comments about "chemistry not mattering" in regards to a few players. But bouncing players from line to line after just a few shifts obviously doesn't work for everyone. The line juggling is almost as big a problem as the impotent powerplay right now. Pick some lines and stick to them for three straight games....see what happens.

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Well with Jokinen out at least a game or so, I thought I'd take a look at some new combinations. A few people have called for Sutter to center the 1st line with Staal on the wing, while others have wondered what the rest of the lines would look like. I put some lines together that I don't think are too bad, but know that will almost certainly never have a chance of happening.

Staal-Sutter-Skinner

Samsonov-Ruutu-Cole

Larose-Matsumoto-Dwyer

Boychuk-Carter-Bodie

Obviously, that top line would be a very different look, providing possibly the most offensive threat there. Not completely sure about whether or not LW/RW makes a difference for those guys (may just mean all guys prefer shooting from same side). Larose and Boychuk could switch spots depending on personal preference, or heck the 2nd-4th line LW spots could conceivably all be switched around to provide more ice time for guys performing well.

When Jokinen comes back, I'd assume Matsumoto goes back to Charlotte. You could put Jussi at 3rd line center and shift Dwyer back to RW. Not really sure what I'd do, but this is at least a different look that I'd love to see have a shot (though it never will).

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Well with Jokinen out at least a game or so, I thought I'd take a look at some new combinations...

Staal-Sutter-Skinner

Samsonov-Ruutu-Cole

Larose-Matsumoto-Dwyer

Boychuk-Carter-Bodie

I like the Sutter/Staal combo. I'd slide Rosie all the way down to 4th line given the way he's playing. I'd give Boychuk his shot with Sammy and Ruutu. I'd put together a speedy 3rd line of Cole-Matsumoto-Dwyer.

Of course we won't see Staal/Sutter combo, so it'll likely be Samsonov on top line and Sutter on 2nd line until Jussi returns and Mo changes everything.

Edited by Manwolf

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I like the Sutter/Staal combo. I'd slide Rosie all the way down to 4th line given the way he's playing. I'd give Boychuk his shot with Sammy and Ruutu. I'd put together a speedy 3rd line of Cole-Matsumoto-Dwyer.

I see one little flaw in your line shuffle so I got to ask. What possible benefit do you see in moving Sutter off of the second line and replace him with ... Ruutu? Since the second line is generally paired off against your opponent's top line, wouldn't you want your best defensive forward and natural center there? Nothing against Ruutu, but all successful teams have reliable two-way centers on their second line and when I think of any possible Selke candidate, Ruutu's name is not one that comes to mind.

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I see one little flaw in your line shuffle so I got to ask. What possible benefit do you see in moving Sutter off of the second line and replace him with ... Ruutu? Since the second line is generally paired off against your opponent's top line, wouldn't you want your best defensive forward and natural center there? Nothing against Ruutu, but all successful teams have reliable two-way centers on their second line and when I think of any possible Selke candidate, Ruutu's name is not one that comes to mind.

It is an untried combo. I've always liked when the Flyers throw Richards out there with Carter, or the Pens with Crosby and Malkin. I say give it a try, even if occasionally paired to keep the other teams off balance for shifts at a time.

The Ruutu/Cole/Skinner line of earlier this year played well as a 2nd line.

Edited by Manwolf

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This comment was made in the Rumors thread:

"We have too many third liners."

I know that's conventional wisdom, but it seems to be said across the league. So, I wanted to look into it a bit. (And this thread seemed a bit more appropriate for the results.)

And what I found was that, relatively speaking, our "third liners" are as much second liners as other teams second liners. ;)

Comparing forwards across the league - looking at total goals & points as well as goals and points per minute played, the Hurricanes have a lot more 2nd liners than generally given credit for.

Staal, not surprisingly, is a first liner across the board with regard to those production numbers. Skinner stands as a first liner, except for dropping to a high 2nd in total goals. They are the only two that have overall first line numbers.

I also looked at Behind the Net's ratings. While I won't claim to understand what all goes into their ratings, it appears to include a bit more defensive elements. Their ratings also only include two players in the first line range - Sutter and Samsonov. Staal and Skinner both end up with third line ratings.

Jokinen, Ruutu, Cole and even Dwyer have production numbers that put them in the second line range. Dwyer is a bit on the edge, but the rest fit there quite comfortably - Cole's numbers in every category put him in second line range. Jokinen, Cole and Dwyer also have second line ratings on Behind the Net, with Ruutu dropping to fourth line range there.

Samsonov and Sutter both have production numbers that put them in the upper range of the third line, but with both doing so well with Behind the Net (Sutter 32nd among all forwards and Samsonov 34th), I'd tend to at least put them in the borderline 2nd/3rd category.

LaRose's numbers do put him squarely as a third liner, and fourth with Behind the Net.

So, averaging just the production numbers, they rate as ("+" meaning top third, "-" meaning bottom third):

1+

none

1

Staal

1-

Skinner

2+

Jokinen

Ruutu

2

Cole

2-

Dwyer

3+

Samsonov

Sutter

3

LaRose

Averaging in the Behind the Net ratings (giving it 20% of the weight):

1+

none

1

none

1-

Staal

2+

Skinner

Jokinen

2

Cole

2-

Ruutu

Dwyer

Samsonov

Sutter

3+

none

3

none

3-

LaRose

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Mo's comments last night included that he was not too happy with the play of some of our veterans and that he'd rather have the young guys playing on the top lines and learning as opposed to the vets continuing to make mistakes...with that in mind, I'd be happy to see the following lines:

Boychuck Staal Cole

Jokinnen Skinner Ruutu

Dalpe Sutter Dwyer/Tlusty/LaRose

Dwyer/Tlusty/LaRose Carter Bodie

Samsonov is a healthy scratch and absolute trade bait, Dwyer's on a 2 way so he could go to Charlotte or be a healthy scratch to give Tlusty a chance to prove himself and stay with the team. Overall, those are pretty solid lines if (and that is the big question) Dalpe and Boychuck can keep up their level of play.

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Mo's comments last night included that he was not too happy with the play of some of our veterans and that he'd rather have the young guys playing on the top lines and learning as opposed to the vets continuing to make mistakes...with that in mind, I'd be happy to see the following lines:

Boychuck Staal Cole

Jokinnen Skinner Ruutu

Dalpe Sutter Dwyer/Tlusty/LaRose

Dwyer/Tlusty/LaRose Carter Bodie

Samsonov is a healthy scratch and absolute trade bait, Dwyer's on a 2 way so he could go to Charlotte or be a healthy scratch to give Tlusty a chance to prove himself and stay with the team. Overall, those are pretty solid lines if (and that is the big question) Dalpe and Boychuck can keep up their level of play.

I think that JR's "talking to" to the team, combined with these comments, suggest that JR is none to happy with especially the play of Sammy. Not sure why he is so up and down, but we have too many guys who can fill that role and opening up room for them to play makes sense. My own suspicion is that Sammy was put on the first line in part to showcase him for a trade. It now seems apparent that it has been hard to find the right, (or any deal), and particularly with Dalpe and Boychuk stepping up, and likely no trades on the horizon, it's time for a shake up.

I think that this is good. It is a sign that management is not content to just keep rolling the vets out there over and over without results.

Keeping the vets guessing and the youth inspired is one of our best tools this year.

Edited by remkin

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...Keeping the vets guessing and the youth inspired is one of our best tools this year.

Should have been done earlier. In Samsonov's defense, I think he's played well and worked hard recently with the Florida game being an exception.

Cole seems to have received JR's message, and delivered an excellent effort in the Florida game. His rush on the Harrison goal was outstanding, and he powered into the offensive zone several times. I really didn't mind his lack of finish since he created opportunities.

LaRose needs to pick up his game. Being a fan favorite may not be enough to carry him.

Just a reminder that Jussi leads the team in assists, so don't look there for an odd man out simply because he's injured.

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Keeping the vets guessing and the youth inspired is one of our best tools this year.

Yep, no doubt. As far as the guys up from Charlotte, they need to play their minutes, whether its in Raleigh or not. It's refreshing to see guys like Dalpe and Boychuk contribute and push the rest of the team. Like Manwolf pointed out, it didn't happen soon enough.

Dalpe continues to impress. He's got size, speed, is rangy like Staal, and has a real quick shot. We're stacked at center. Boychuk looks to me like he's figuring things out. It's night and day compared to late last year to now.

I'd hate to see Sammy hit the waiver wire, but it might come to that unless we scratch him healthy. There's no room, particularly on the left side. We'll see if the new found ice time for the younguns lasts long with bodies getting healthy.

This month is huge for this team, as is.

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LaRose needs to pick up his game. Being a fan favorite may not be enough to carry him.

Totally agree here...his play has slipped and I think that Boychuck is bringing similar energy (Daniels made a comparison in Charlotte) but Boychuck's offensive upside is worlds ahead of Rosie. In addition a 4th line of LaRose Bodie and Carter is one helluva energy line. Talk about a group that could really, really get under the skin of some teams.

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