Your new lines from practice:
- Ladd - Little - Bergfors
- Kane - Antropov - Stewart
- Cormier - Stapleton - Thorburn
- Boulton/Modin - Burmistrov - Peverley
A few quick comments before the flame-fest begins...I think Bergfors has been playing better lately and Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little showed a lot of chemistry at the beginning of the season. I'm glad to see that line back together.
I've suggested in a few other venues (including Twitter) that Antropov might do well back at center, so we'll see how that goes. That line should be a solid checking+scoring line. Remember that, as much as you guys think Anthony Stewart sucks, he does have 12 goals this season.
The Cormier - Stapleton - Thorburn line seemed to have A LOT of jump last night. Keeping them together is a no-brainer at this point.
Sure, three of his five goals came in a single game, but I'd really like to see Eric Boulton get back into the lineup. His effort is usually good, and while he's certainly just a 4th-liner, I think he does his job. His +1 compares favorably with Modin's -9, Burmistrov's -3, and Peverley's team-worst -16. No, we shouldn't make all of our lineup decisions based on plus/minus, but I think it's instructive here.
A few words on Rich Peverley: I don't think he's been playing well this season, but I don't think a demotion to 4th-line wing is really what will set him back on the right track. He needs to play with guys who can help get him going again; Modin and Burmistrov hardly seem like the pair. This team is a much better team when Rich Peverley is playing well and he just hasn't looked like himself lately. Of course, most of his points have come while playing with Andrew Ladd (and either Niclas Bergfors or Nik Antropov on the wing), but Ladd hasn't been his start-of-the-season self either. I'm not sure I have an answer, other than to say Rich might have to pick himself up by his own bootstraps here. As a guy who earned a top-6 center role after starting the in ECHL, I have no doubt he has the work ethic to do it. To be honest, I haven't been able to figure out what the problem is. I'm going to have to pay much more attention to him on the ice. (I tried to keep an eye on him last night and saw him make several questionable passes when he should have shot. Several of Ramsay's post-game comments seemed to be targeted at Rich.)