Monday, April 12, 2010

Let's Do This Dance...On One Leg?

Well, this is a tough time of year to be a University Student/Hockey fan blogger. Final exams are upon Oakes and I, which seem to take up all our time, yet this is the time of year we want to be blogging 9 times a day.

Needless to say its been tough to keep this place up and bumpin, but I have some time now, so let's look at what's going down in Sens land.

Firstly, Alex Kovalev's up and down season has ended a little prematurely. This saddens me, and this is why.

1) Secondary scoring: 49 points on the year put Kovy in fourth on the team in points, and that cannot be understated. On a team with a minus goal differential, the guys putting pucks in the net are very important.

2) The Kovy Effect: He is a talented, albeit confusing player, but he DEMANDS respect, of that there is no doubt. He opens up room for guys on the second line.

3) Second Line Chemistry: All year long Fisher-Kovy has been a fixture in the line up with the hopes of creating second line chemistry. Now, with no time for failed experiments, Clouston must find a second line that can be effective.

Number three for me, is the thing nobody is talking about, but is the biggest problem. This is a team exceptionally strong down the middle, and pretty decent on the left side, but on the right side, the team is not deep.

So what do you do with the second line? Be careful, if it doesn't work, there isn't too much time to let it struggle.

First, at centre, there is a near certain chance Mike Fisher will be the guy.

On the left side, I think they might go with either Matt Cullen, who has played exceptionally well thus far as a Sen, but might be better used as a centreman on the third line. The other option is Peg-Leg, AKA Milan Michalek. Its obvious Milan is not at 100%, playing essentially on one leg, but we need him to give everything he's got for us to be successful. Plus him and Fisher are bang-crash speed guys that might find some magic.


On the right side, there are some options, and at this point none of them are really attractive.

You cold play Nicky Foligno out of position on the right side, but he's having enough trouble this year without playing out of position.

Ryan Shannon has played sparingly down the stretch, not even playing when Donovan got to play Saturday. He has had a disappointing season, and his game doesnt seem suited to the playoffs. However, he did look good on Fisher's right side at the end of last year.

Jesse Winchester is good at faceoffs and hitting people. But he has scored 5 career NHL goals in almost 130 games. Not really a Kovy replacement.

Zach Smith seems perfect for the playoffs, but on a third or fourth line.

So have I depressed you yet? I don't intend to, and it shouldn't. Cory has shown that he is more creative than any of us when it comes to line combos, so Im not as much concerned as I am curious.

But bottom line is, Kovalev is an important player, and even though some Sens fans have played the Ship-off-Kovalev's-Ass trumpet, its hard to deny. (Like I said Here)

So what say you, Sens fans that traverse the interweb nation? What does your line-up look like, specifically the second line heading in to this big dance?

I think with little room for error we might see Foligno-Fisher-Shannon tried out, but that's just me.

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