Hints of Gabby’s thinking & the search for chemistry

Posted: 09/16/2013 by bc in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tonight’s Game:
Phoenix @ Anaheim, 7:00pm start at the Honda Center. Audio stream available at http://ducks.nhl.com/index.html

The previous post, A look at the intangibles really begins this blog’s Ducks coverage of the 2013-14 season. If you haven’t at least skimmed it yet, you’ll be better equipped to understand this one and forthcoming posts through training camp.

At first blush, swapping out Daniel Winnick from the “checking line” for Emerson Etem would indicate a slightly different role for Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano. It ain’t necessarily so. All three forwards are proven penalty killers and defensively responsible. The move should improve scoring from the checking line. As Coach noted, “Their speed will give opposing teams fits.” Some sandpaper is sacrificed but Etem’s overall toughness shouldn’t be underrated.
The skill sets are complimentary. As noted all are defensively responsible and great skaters. Koivu and Cogliano are decent playmakers and finishers. Etem is a promising sniper.

One move this blogger has been waiting for and referenced here previously more than once is trying Daniel Winnick at center. Now wwe understand why that hasn’t happened until now.  “We wanted to try this last year, but there was just never a break, and we didn’t want to throw him into the fire.” Boudreau added, “He’s going to stay there for a while, at center, during the preseason,”
With Patrick Maroon and Devante Smith-Pelly on the wings, Winnick could well result in a very physical Stopper Line reminiscent of Pahlsson, Niedermayer & Moen.
Memo to fourth line center hopefuls Peter Holland, Rickard Rakell and Antoine Laganiere: Pick it up a notch!

Notice we have comments from Coachevidencing his thinking on the aforementioned opportunities. Now for one that isn’t being talked about in the blogs or reported on by mainstream media:

Where does Kyle Palmieri fit? Is he Bobby Ryan 2.0? The guy we never find a spot for and instead move him around and ask him to spark whatever line he happens to be on that shift? Jeez, I hope not.
In the early going at least Dustin Penner hasn’t played himself off the top line. Bones, Flash and Silfver are developing chemistry and producing results. The 3rd and 4th lines could be set.
Palmieri has earned more than a 4th line role. He’s aiming to become The Twins linemate. To earn that plum he’ll have to prove himself better than Penner and overcome locker room politics. Not an easy task for a guy who has only recently established his NHL cred.
Boudreau wouldn’t reveal his lineup for tomorrow’s preseason opener against Phoenix (7 p.m., Honda Center), but said “we’ve got the first three games mapped out, in a perfect world, and all seven games mapped out for the goalies.”

Note to credentialed local media: The only reason we don’t have an answer to, “Where Palmieri fits” is because you aren’t asking the question. Aside to readers: Credentialed media claims the main reason for lost audience is increased competition. Just once I’d like them to consider the quality of their reportage.

Note to me: Exhale 😉

Three of the above quotes can be found in this report by Kyle Shohara of AnaheimDucks.com.

  1. czhokej says:

    I believe in relatively stable line-combos, where the chemistry is so strong that you do not have to look for your linemates. You just know where they are or where they will be the next moment.
    And, I repeat myself, the team must go into the playoffs with some energy reserve. I think that the last season we did not have enough in the tank to defeat Detroit. On the top of it, our system (whatever it was?) deteriorated at the end of the series. .

    • bc says:

      Knowing your linemates is akin to our back and forth now entering it’s 6th season! cz, you keep pushing me to be better. So let’s get at it, Bud. And welcome to the new season 🙂 Totally agree that stability and familiarity foster chemistry with this caveat; Coach said, “we’ve got the first three games mapped, in a perfect world, and all seven games mapped out for the goalies.” The operative phrase is, “in a perfect world.” When you and I learned the game, not that our learnin’ hasn’t continued, there were fewer games, shorter seasons, smaller rosters, less travel, favoritism or lack of parity and television didn’t dictate the format. In the original six NHL, games were halted while the backup goalie suited up and warmed up before play resumed. All the changes have brought more specialization to the game. This is what challenges a tactician’s ability. The modern coach has more players with varying levels of skill sets. Television changing the format with media timeouts imposes other considerations on the coach on how best to marshal his assets. All these things and more challenge stable lines.

      As to the Wings winning that series. They had Abdelkader who took out Lydman. We didn’t have a Pronger or Rob Niedermayer to even things up by taking out a Datsyuk or Zetterberg. We failed to goon it up back at them. As a result, Babcock enhanced his rep as a brilliant tactician while Gabby still must win in the playoffs to earn similar respect.

  2. czhokej says:

    I agree, Mike Babcock designed his strategy to take advantage of our weaknesses (and appropriately changed it, when it was necessary).
    You don’t think our team looked tired and sluggish, especially in those last two games?

    On the other hand one, only one goal by Perry could have decided the whole series. He (Corey) had the most shots (24) and Winnik (22), but neither of them could score.

    • bc says:

      Yeah, fatigue is a strong possibility. They also looked confused at times as well. They were watching Datsyuk/Zetterberg rather than reading/reacting instinctively. Really warming to your physical teams experience end of season fatigue theory cz. Just not sure it’s the only reason for tentative play. Confusion and frustration, or as Led Zeplin called it “Dazed & Confused” are often contributing factors to tentative play. At the end of the day though, as Babs always said, Wings best players produced, our’s didn’t.

  3. czhokej says:

    The Kings advanced to the 2012 play-offs from the 8th place in the West, with poor scoring and excellent defensive stats, but surprised everybody in the post season, eliminating #1, 2 and 3 seeds 4-1, 4-0, 4-1. Some teams try to save some energy (and have healthy players) for the playoffs. And some coaches like to apply different systems and tactics in the playoffs. The Kings switched from more or less defensive system, to extremely aggressive physical game. Even as a Duck fan, I had to admit that they played very well.
    We were not healthy against Detroit.

    • bc says:

      (((DOH))) Now I get it cz. Like the difference between riding a guy off the puck and driving him through the boards, defensive systems don’t have to be rock ’em – sock ’em physical to be effective. But yeah, the Kings have stepped up their physical game in the playoffs since Daryl Suter arrived. Sorry Bud, I’ll take two for that duh.

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