Ok, look, I know there’s the old saying that you gotta dance with the one than brought you, but Willie Desjardins is taking this to extremes. Just because you gotta dance with ’em, doesn’t mean you should be doing the Box Step, Willie!
I mean, I love the idea that this team is actually deep enough that you have the option of just rolling four lines. But that doesn’t mean you should do it no matter what the context. It doesn’t mean that in a close game your most dominant line should be getting as much ice time as the possession sink hole coming up behind it.
Now, to be fair, Willie did in fact change up the line deployment in the third. But the adjustment was to give the Sedins LESS ice time, not more. Really. This happened.
This was posted by God over at HFBoards this morning and I just about fell out of my chair when I saw it:
That is OCD level line rolling right there. Until the game is tied and then inexplicably the Sedins start missing their turn. Like WTF?
I get that you want to keep players fresh and not push them to the point of fatigue. Take Calgary, for example. Hartley was riding Wideman and Russel pretty hard all game, and they wound up at 31 and 29 minutes, respectively. That’s insane, and sure to come back to bite them in the ass if the series goes six or seven games. But what was Willie thinking? Did he think it was going to overtime, so lets hold back on the Sedins to they’re fresh?
The problem is that if Desjardins keeps up with this deployment strategy, it might be over before the effects of fatigue have any impact at all. Sure, slow and steady wins the race, but this isn’t a race. It’s a best of seven, and the first team to four games wins:
But even if you’re trying to protect a lead, why on earth are you putting the worst the guys that consistently get hemmed in their own end out there at the expense of the guys that consistently hem the other team in their own end? Here’s the shot attempts chart from War On Ice:
There’s a 25 shot attempt swing between the Sedin line and the Bonino line.
Now go back and look at that shift table again. The Sedin line and the Bonino line actually had the same number of shifts in the third period. But look at the shift lengths. Bonino’s line was constantly getting stuck out there for extended periods.
It’s one thing to roll lines, it’s another to adjust to the situation and ensure that you are taking full advantage of every opportunity to increase your chances to succeed. It’s crazy not to lean on the Sedins when the game is on the line. Whether it’s for offense or for defense.
You know what else is crazy? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Willie Desjardins’ vacation plans for this summer. pic.twitter.com/8G9Ogf6dHH
— petbugs (@petbugs13) April 17, 2015
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