Monday, April 24, 2006

Top line shake-up

Today's practice saw a new number one line thrown together: Antoine Vermette-Jason Spezza-Dany Heatley.

I'd like to say I'm amazed at the stupidity of that, but I'm beginning to realize that's just how this team does things: the hard way.

Antoine Vermette's a good player and can be effective if used right. Hell, I'm all for him getting an increased role as he's been very good on the PK and whenever given time 5-on-5 has made things happen.

But he's not Daniel Alfredsson, who should absolutely be back with Heatley and Spezza for a full game. Not thrown together in the third period when the team needs goals, but all the time. They have a proven track record of dominance, and Heatley and Spezza have their best games with the captain on the right wing. So why the hell aren't they going back to it?

At this rate, I wouldn't be entirely shocked to see Alfredsson on the fourth line tomorrow night and have it rationalized by Murray as an attempt to "spread out scoring". Riiiiiiight.

The one upside of Vermette being on the top line is that, if nothing else, it should quiet the critics who maintain his diminished role is the result of the team's apparent hatred of French Canadians. Yes, that's why Denis Hamel isn't with the team. Because he has a French name.


At 11:04 PM, Anonymous TomDeChastealin said...

I do not understand this phobia about putting Alfie back on the big line with Spezza and Heatley. They keep rotating the kids up there...if anything Eaves has had the most compatible style

If past seasonal patterns persistn, it won't matter..he has neve kept that line together for more than half the game at at time...which means why bother.

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

Right - Hamel could help us win the Cup, but we won't play him because we need keep francophones in their place. Sure...

I was at the Atlanta game, sitting in the high rent district for once, and saw Hamel in action. He is a great skater, and probably generates a lot of offence for himself based on his skating ability in the AHL. In this league, however, everyone can motor, and as a result he is JAG (just a guy) in the NHL. To suggest he is the victim of some plot is ridiculous - I think someone must have seen "Maurice Richard" en francais at the theatre, and is feeling particularly nationalistic as a result. :-)


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