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Discussion in 'Rick Middleton's Pron 'Stache: Bruins Forum' started by The Napkin, Dec 20, 2018.
Gonna be reallllly interesting to see what they do with lines when Bergeron is back.
It’s been like 10 years since Bergy played on a line without Marchand. Going to be super weird if that is what they do.
Iirc Jaffe the other day said he’d pair Krejci-Pasta and Bergeron-Marchand and then find a winger to play with them. Think I could be on board with trying that for a bit.
This is what I’d do. I’d put DeBrusk with Krejci and Pasta when he’s back and find a winger for Bergy/Marchand. Ideally it’d be Backes but Nordstrom could work or they could break up the 3rd line and do Heinen or Donato. Personally I’d like to see them keep that Heinen - JFK - Donato together for a bit longer.
I'm reasonably sure he said the same with DeBrusk but for the life of me I can't remember who he mentioned for the other but I was nodding along as he talked. Also wondered if he had some inside knowledge he was dishing. Would certainly give Backes a shot the way he's been playing lately. I also will probably break this out after my meeting and put it on the main board. Mental note.
I have been a defender of the "don't break up the best line in hockey" theory but I've changed my tune.
Marchand - Bergeron - Backes(?)
Debrusk - Krejci - Pasta
Heinen - JFK - Donato
That's actually pretty good depth there, assuming the third line approximately maintains its current level of play. Rotate Donato and Backes (or Nordstrom) as needed.
(broken out from the game thread)
These were the lines today at practice in Nashville. Looks like Heinen up to 1st line and Krejci-Pasta together with Nordstrom on the 2nd. Bergy back. Vakk rotating in with Miller.
If they are breaking up that 3rd line, I’d just put Donato with Krejci and Pasta.i don’t really get the Nordstrom fascination.
Marchand - Bergeron - Heinen
Donato - Krejci - Pastrnak
Nordstrom - JFK - Backes
Kuraly - Cave - Wagner
The thought is probably something along the lines of Nordstrom being replacement level along the boards rather than having three players on the same line who all like playing in space.
Isn't Nordstrom just a placeholder for DeBrusk? Maybe they want Donato to play with JFK and Wagner long-term.
Also Krejci has been quoted as being comfortable playing with him.
A game or two of Krejci with Pastrnak and Nordstrom together to try it out might not be the worst thing. Personally I wish they’d call Cehlarik back up and play him with Krejci and Pastrnak but that doesn’t seem like something they want to do right now.
So they started last night with Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak back together.
I've generally liked Cassidy but I remain unconvinced that that gives this team the best chance to win on a nightly basis.
Tried to dive down into some of the stats for the various combo’s they have tried up front, particularly the top 2 lines.
Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak
222 minute at 5x5. 60% O zone start, 57% CF, 61% SCF, goals are 57% (15 for 11 against). Elite line, though the goals against are higher than you’d expect. This one is in their back pocket. I think the issue is more they can’t figure out a reasonable line #2.
Marchand - Bergeron - RW not Pasta
31 minutes, 45% CF, 55% SCF, goals are 2-0 surprisingly. Not great. They tried Heinen there against Carolina and it didn’t work.
The most common question is if they should drop Pastrnak to Krejci’s line. Here’s how it has gone so far:
Any winger - Krejci - Pastrnak
208 minutes 5x5. 65% Ozone start. 58% CF, 60% SCF, 65% goals (11-6). These results are pretty similar to the 63/37/88 line. So I thought, well, at the end of 37’s injury they were running 63 and 88 with 46. So I filtered out time with Marchand.
Winger not 63 - Krejci - Pastrnak
88 minutes, 59% CF, 56% SCF, goals are 1-3. So that is good, but no finish. Some of that is Nordstrom. Of the 88 minutes Krejci and Pasta have played together, 30 has been with Nordstrom and that trio hasn’t scored a goal together. Not a huge sample. I think Nordstrom is useful, but really needs to be far away from the top 6. He’s an offensive anchor. Bruce loves him though, went right back to 20-46-74 last night when he was apparently unhappy with Heinen.
So I think the conclusion here is not really a surprising one- they have 5 top 6 forwards, and the 6th forward they’ve tried haven’t gained traction. It doesn’t really matter where they put Pastrnak. He’s fine with Krejci and Bergy. Whichever line he is on will he elite. The other will sag a bit.
Here’s what I would try (63 is hurt tho):
Marchand - Bergeron - DeBrusk
Minuscule 5 minute sample size, but in that small sample they were 9-5 in attempts, 5-0 in scoring chances and 1-0 in goals.
Heinen - Krejci - Pastrnak
Slightly more sample here, 26 minutes. 67% CF, 66% Shots, 61% SCF, goals are 1-0.
Great analysis cshea. Although I do think everyone is overlooking the elephant in the room -- the 3rd line. Somehow (in hindsight it's even more amazing), they got a TON of production out of it last season, especially the most used combination of Heinen-Nash-Backes. They were legitimately good, not just lucky.
I don't think Riley Nash leaving is the only reason the 3rd line is bad, but they still have a huge hole at 3C right now. Addressing that issue would give them many more options than just shuffling the top 4 wingers around to try to maximize them.
Last two posts are excellent. Well done.
Holy hell, though, it gets grim down the bench
The Bruins have some decisions looming over the next few days.
First up is McAvoy. Bruce made it seem like McAvoy could possibly play tomorrow. The Bruins are currently carrying a full roster, 23 players. McAvoy is on IR, so they’d need to make a corresponding move to free up a roster spot when he does return, either tomorrow or maybe the weekend. Who goes? I think they likely keep 8 D. Kampfer seems destined to slide into the Postma role- vet they keep around for emergencies. I’m not sure they’d be comfortable waiving him. The only D they can send down without waivers is McAvoy and that obviously isn’t happening. So I think they stick with the 8. Then we move to the forwards, they have 14. Backes counts while being suspended for 1 more game. JFK, DeBrusk and Donato are the 3 waiver exempt forwards on the roster. DeBrusk isn’t going anywhere. I think Donato is safe, but they did just put him back in the press box. JFK is probably on thin ice, but they still don’t have a 3C solution. JFK and Cave’s numbers are pretty much identical, but Cave requires waivers. He’s young enough that they probably wouldn’t want to risk losing him. So edge to Cave, I suppose. Maybe more of a long shot, but Acciari is someone who could go on waivers. He was a healthy scratch for stretches in December, but has played in 8 straight. They seem to like him, but he’s a guy that would likely clear and I think he’s a redundancy on the roster. They seem to have found something with this Nordstrom - Kuraly - Wagner 4th line, and when Backes is back there isn’t much room for Acciari. Anyways, they have some things to consider here.
The other question, and more interesting IMO, is how they juggle the D when McAvoy is back. Even with Kampfer sitting, they will have 7 legit NHL defensemen. Who sits? Do they try an 11/7 lineup for a few games? There are some interesting possibilities if they do that. They could theoretically do things like Krug/McAvoy for Ozone starts and then Chara/McAcoy for Dzone starts. It would allow them to mix and match like that all throughout the game. I don’t think it is something that has really ever been done for any length of time, so I’m not sure how feasible it is. Maybe it’d be too chaotic. They basically have 2 4th lines as is, so they could just pull someone out and mix and match the bottom 6. If they go the traditional 12/6, I honestly don’t know who sits. Carlo would be my first guess, but I think a better approach would just be to rotate guys in and out and get everyone some time off.
Nice summary - looking at the options, I think you're right in that JFK goes back down, and we start to see some 7D rotation with the bottom 6 mixed and matched depending on the zone. JFK to Providence with Acciari, Donato, and Kampfer as the scratches once Backes is back
I wonder when the rest of the NHL starts trying out different configurations. Who says there needs to be 4 lines/6 D on every team? Who says there always needs to be LW/C/RW/LD/RD as the configuration on the ice at all times? I think there's a ton of room for innovation around all of hockey here both for on ice personnel and overall roster management.
I’ve always wondered why teams haven’t tried 4 F 1 D late in games down by a goal or two.
Is it my imagination/faulty memory, or were gameday rosters smaller in the early & mid-70s, such that teams had to choose whether to go with 6D or 12F?
This thread, assuming it's accurate, gives some detail. Up until the '82-83 season, they could skate 17 (plus goalies).
I was curious too and work is...
With the news of Nordström's fractured fibula, it looks like the B's won't have to make a roster move to activate McAvoy from IR
Doesn’t appear he is playing tonight either.
McAvoy has been skating for a few days and is back at practice with the full group today. His return seems imminent, be it tomorrow or Saturday.
Nordstrom to IR takes care of the roster spot, but I still haven’t a clue on what Cassidy does with the game lineup when McAvoy is back.
I think he takes Carlo's spot with Chara, Carlo takes John Moore's spot with Krug and then Cassidy has to figure out which of Moore or Gryz to scratch. I have a really hard time knowing what the right move is between those 2.
I don’t understand why they would split up Chara and Carlo. Carlo is so much better when he is with Chara (based purely on the eye test, advanced stats may prove me wrong). I would love to see if McAvoy-Krug could work as a pair. I feel like they’d dominate possession. Then play Miller with Moore or Grzelcyk.
I completely agree.
Chara - Carlo
Krug - McAvoy
Miller/Moore/Gryz in some combination on the bottom pairing.
That's a pretty good D core.
I agree with this. I think the Devil's advocate view is that Chara and Carlo are both big and rangy, so they went to spread the big and rangy-ness around.
There's also the fact that neither is a great transition player (Carlo is below average at best, IMO). I think they like to spread out the guys who can get the puck out of the zone. Their 3 best at that are probably McAvoy, Grz, and Krug, and it seems to have worked out pretty well keeping them on separate pairs unless they're chasing a lead.
Looking purely at shot attempt metrics, Krug is Carlo's best partner, I'm assuming that has a ton to do with usage. I don't think there's good enough data or a big enough sample size to make any conclusions.
I don't see any reason not to have a steady rotation the rest of the season. Even Chara could probably use a few random days off. McAvoy might be the only one that should be playing every day if he's healthy.
McAvoy won’t play tomorrow, but will likely be in the lineup Saturday. Apparently he got a “pretty big” cut on his foot from blocking a shot in the Montreal game. Played through it, but the cut ended up getting infected and he’s been on antibiotics since Christmas.
I think they go:
Chara - McAvoy
Krug - Carlo
Chara/Carlo has been good together, but as Verona’s noted, they lack transition skills. It’s a pairing they can use protecting a late lead, but I don’t think it’ll be a mainstay pairing. Secondly, as a tickle down, I’m not sure Bruce would put Krug and McAvoy together. He may worry about them defensively, although similar to Chara/Carlo protecting leads, Krug/McAvoy should be a down late pairing.
As for the remaining 3, I don’t see any discernable difference in play between them. They’ve all played well enough to remain in the lineup. Moore and Miller play the PK, Grz does not. That may end up costing Grz. Grz does play on the 2nd PP, but he’ll presumably get bumped from that role by McAvoy. That leaves him as a man with no special teams, which could put him in the press box.
That said, a rotation is probably the best course of action. Z would never go for it, but I’d like to sit him more frequently, like back-to-backs. Miller is also someone who gets banged up frequently, he’d be a guy I’d rest from time to time.
In 2011, they'd play Chara-Boychuck and Seidenberg-Ference for longer periods, but when the game got close and late, they'd shift to C-S and B-F. I could see that again with the B's going Chara-Carlo and Krug-McAvoy and collapsing to Chara-McAvoy against the top line late.
Cehlarik up to play along with Krejci and DeBrusk. Maybe I'm just being a negative nancy but I don't have a ton of hope for it. We'll see I guess.
A top 6 of:
Marchand - Bergeron - Pasta
Cehlarik - Krejci - DeBrusk
Is pretty good if Cehlarik can make that next step.
Early returns on the Cehlarik - Krejci - DeBrusk line:
21:19 5x5 TOI
Scoring chances 11-4
90% Ozone start.
Cehlarik has looked great. He can creat chances, and has even made some plays coming out of his own end. 4 PIM’s is really the only negative. He has given them exactly what they needed, now it is a matter of doing it consistently.