Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rest My Chemistry

You know, the Devils have been trying a great deal to create scoring by juggling up the line combinations at the forward positions. Here's some advice: When developing chemistry, you might wanna let something stick for more than, I don't know, two shifts? Jeez, Brent Spurrier changes lines faster than NJDevs.com goes through panic attacks.

You see, Brent Spurrier has been trying to find a combo of Top 6 - Hell, he'd take Top 2 if he could score - forwards, and this is what he came up with for his 4 lines for what will likely be the team that suits up against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Halloween night:

Parise-Zajac-Gionta
Elias-Brylin-Clarkson
Pandolfo-Madden-Zubrus
Pelley-Asham-Rupp

Wha?? Really? Now, I'm not as opposed to Sergei Brylin on line #2 as the rest of Horned-Tail Nation. Since he got hurt and missed 30 games during the 03-04 season, Sarge has increased his point totals (33-37-40) in the previous three seasons and played well with Patrik during their time with Jamie Langenbrunner. Well, my main problem is with the dishing of Dainius Zubrus to the 3rd line. Your really going to take someone your paying $3.6 million to be your #1 center and put him on the right side of the third line? Fair enough, Sutterior. Madden and Pando are our two hottest forwards, so maybe it'll work, but I'd rather at least see him playing wing with Parise and Zajac, giving that line a little size that Gionta just doesn't give you. And why not play Gio with Madden and Pando if they're going to be counted on more to contribute offensively.

Let's take a look at the line combos the Devils used in their three victories. For their October 6th win over Florida, this was the Devs 12 forwards:

Elias-Zubrus-Clarkson
Parise-Zajac-Gionta
Pandolfo-Madden-Asham

And in their 6-5 defeat of the Thrashers on October 12th:

Elias-Zajac-Gionta
Parise-Zubrus-Asham
Pandolfo-Madden-Clarkson
Rupp-Pelley-Brylin.

Finally, for the 5-4 wild one in Pittsburgh on October 16th:
Elias-Zajac-Gionta
Zubrus-Parise-Asham
Pandolfo-Madden-Clarkson
Rupp-Pelley-Brylin.

The problem is that Sutter's not willing to keep a line together for more than five minutes. Maybe, if he found something that works and stuck with it, the Devils wouldn't be 3-6-1.

Devils-Tampa tomorrow, 7PM.

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