Senators Out Gunned by the Not so Mighty Ducks.
posted Jan 19, 2006 at 11:14PM
Here is a little thought experiment. You are a head coach for an opposing team coming in to play the Senators. Here is the rub. You have access to exactly the same players as Brian Murray has. Put your lines together and play against Murray. In essence the game will be determined by which line-up is better.
Brian Murray = "A" Team. His line-up from the first two periods goes as follows:
Line A1: Alfredson-Smolinski-Eaves
Line A2: Heatley-Spezza-Neil
Line A3: Schaeffer- Fisher-Varada
Line A4 McGrattan - Vermette- Kelly
I would counter with the Quasimodos or"Q" Team
Line Q1: Alfredson-Spezza-Heatley
Line Q2: Schaeffer - Smolinski - Fisher
Line Q3: Kelly -Vermette- Eaves
Line Q4 Hamel- Martins- Neil
So how would it turn out? In big picture terms, Line Q1 would slaughter A1. If the remainder of the Q lines just play it even with the other A lines, then the game is won. And basically there is no reason whey this wouldn't happen. In each case the Q lines have three players playing as a line, against a duo of players and a sore thumb. Of course, in a Quasimodos run team these lines would have been together for the majority of the season, and totally integrated with each other's movements and styles. They would be going against lines that had just been thrown together that morning.
Here is another little thought experiment. This one concerns the third line. You have Murray's third line which now consists of:
Murray Third Line: Eaves-Kelly-Varada
Quasimodos Third Line: Kelly-Vemette-Eaves
On paper the difference is between Vermette and Varada. And here there is no contest. Vermette skates faster, has a better shot, can give and receive passes (even when on his ass or on his stomach) better than Varada. Vermette can create opportunities out of nothing and Varada cannot. Vermette can kill penalties with either Kelly or Eaves. Varada can not. Vermette would make Kelly and Eaves that more dangerous as offensive threats. Varada reduces them to being a "grind line" or "energy" line or whatever kind of line that Murray apoligists come up with.
The other element is that Vermette is far better than Kelly in face-offs.
The minute Vermette is placed with Kelly and Eaves is the minute the Senators again have three lines that can apply offensive pressure and score goals. This is something we have not had since Nov 30.