Thomas
DeChastelain
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We Lose Again - Habs 5, Senators 3
posted Apr 6, 2006 at 11:32PM

It is an armchair coaching exercise that anyone can do. Basically using the same players, come up with some line combinations and then "game" them against the ones Murray has put out there. So for the record, tonight Murray went with the following

Murray 1: Kelly - Spezza - Heatley
Murray 2: Eaves - Arnason - Alfredson
Murray 3: Schaefer - Fisher -Smolinski
Murray 4: Varada - Vermette - Neil

Using the post Buffalo comments as a start I would counter with the following

Quasimodos 1: Alfredson - Spezza - Heatley
Quasimodos 2: Schaefer - Fisher - Neil
Quasimodos 3: Smolinski - Arnason - Varada
Quasimodos 4: Kelly - Vermette - Eaves

Ok.

So Quasimodos 1 vs Murray 1? Easy the win goes to the Big Line. Not only is Alfredson better than Kelly, you have the whole chemistry premium as well.

Quasimodos 2 vs Murray 2?

On paper one could argue that this would be even. Alfredson is the best player of the six, but Fisher and Schaefer are better than Arnason and Eaves. Of course we have seen the Schaefer - Fisher - Neil line play together, and I would suggest that they play better together as a line, than does Arnason, Eaves and Alfredson. But for arguments sake, we will call it a draw

Quasimodos 3 vs Murray 3? This one goes to Murray. If I really had my way I would mitigate the mismatch by bringing up Hamel and putting him in Varada's place. Still the edge goes to Murray 3 which has no weak points.

Quasimodos 4 vs Murray 4?. Again this is easy, the edge goes to the Kid Line. Kelly and Eaves are better than Varada and Neil, plus again you have the chemistry premium.

So in a game of Quasimodos vs Murray, the edge would go to the Quasimodos line-up. It has two lines that are clearly superior. One line that would play it even, and only one that is not as good.

Again, it is something you may want to try on your own, incorporating your own observations of how certain players have played with each other.

Some might say it doesn't make that much of a difference. But I would say that the difference between winning and losing in the playoffs can be awfully small, and every little bit helps.

Would it have made a difference tonight? Murray thought so, in a way. With only 4 minutes left he did put the Big Line back together. Why not the whole game? I don't know. I am sure Murray has a plan. What it is, I have no idea.

Yes we had the decimated defense corps, and we had the fatigue factor, and we had Non-Call McCreary brandishing the whistle. Would it have made a difference? I don't know. It is one thing to lose. It is another to lose without putting your best foot forward. Winning these last two games could have been huge "statement" games against potential play-off opponents. We have given them hope, where none should exist.

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