Re: BRUINS NOT THE BRUINS
posted at 5/13/2013 11:09 AM EDT
The whole "line juggling" debate is one that really irks me. Hockey players at this level and in these types of pressure situations cannot be thrown another element to deal with (new linemates). It's incredibly naive for announcers or fans to say that moving Player A to the 1st line or whatever will magically create more goals. Let's take Jagr as an example:
Everyone says play Jagr with "more skilled" players, but that's not what the problem is with that line right now. The problem is Jagr likes to play a puck possession game, hold it on his stick and cycle along the boards waiting for a lane or player to open up for the pass. It's a brand of hockey that doesn't fit with that the Bruins are built for - which is mainly driving to the net, push the puck to the front, cause chaos and chip in the goals.
The Bruins don't have skaters, skilled or otherwise, who have the ability to create the type of space Jagr is waiting for. It wouldn't be any better if he were skating with Krejci, Bergeron, Seguin, Marchand, Horton, Lucic or anyone else on the team you want to consider more skilled that Peverly and Kelly.
But it's easy to sit from afar and say they're not scoring goals and therefore the lines need to be changed. It's a horrible idea at this point. It makes sense to do this in the regular season, which Julien did - he played Jagr with 9 different other forwards in the short time he had him. If they were down 0-3 in the series, yup...a good time to try something drastic and change it up. But the problem isn't line pairings in game 7 of a series, it's execution. It's hesitating when an opportunity exists. It's missed shots. It's the endless waiting for the perfect play that NEVER comes in playoff-style hockey.
I have no problem with any of these players. There's a heckuva good team on the other end giving it their best. If Toronto wins, it's because they were the better team over 7 games. It's not because Julien refused to arbitrarily move players around at the 11th hour.
You might get your wish...and the Leafs would love for the lines to change. The moment that happens, there's a 90% chance someone blows coverage because they're used to their normal linemates to be in a certain area and Toronto will eat the Bruins alive in transition. Moving players around would be a terrible, terrible idea.