mikey287 wrote:It still doesn't explain what it has to do with Dustin Penner. Sutter and Cooke didn't have far superior players dragging them along (Getzlaf and Perry). Just a distraction. According to #fancystats, Sutter and Cooke gained territory in difficult situations.
I think the play of the fourth line has been better this year. With Engelland on it, no less. They've been able to keep possession down-low, get a little cycle game going and push the tempo physically against varying opposition. So, there's some hope on that front.
What's really lacking on the third line is Matt Cooke. Or on the other side, Tyler Kennedy. That will be addressed at the trade deadline. And it will determine it's identity. Coaching staff recognizes the third line is a mutt...it's a test site for call-ups, it's place where demoted players go, it's a line in limbo.
Interestingly, well perhaps not, the fourth line is doing more heavy lifting than the third this year. Promising? Perhaps.
Re: coaching changes. Slightly different animal. Most people don't understand coaching and its impacts, nor do they coaches themselves really. Slightly more understandable than player personnel.
Mikey, how can 4 coaches not see the fact that Engelland is better on the 4th line than on the blueline? How can they not see that Bortuzzo is a better defenseman than Engelland?
How can they not see that Jokinen is completely struggling lately and you have a guy that has proven his offensive game in the AHL this year in Gibbons, wasting on the third line? Why wouldn't you give him a chance to see if maybe he actually meshes with Malkin for some crazy reason? Not to say Jokinen doesn't have chemistry, because he does, but lately he's been downright terrible. Why not take the opportunity to give Gibbons that chance?
This is what drives me nuts about Bylsma besides his lack of adjustments and stubborness. Vitale deserved to play last year and he was a constant scratch. Him and Kennedy should never have come out of the lineup against the Isles in my mind, because of their speed and faceoff ability. Low and behold, once they're inserted again, we're able to skate with them and Kennedy came up big. He has this love affair with Engelland on the blueline, when it's clear that Bortuzzo has more ability, and deserves to play. Sure he's going to make mistakes, but he's a future fixture on this blueline, let him play out the errors, it's not like Engo doesn't make errors....and make MORE of them...not to mention Engo isn't in the future plans of this team, unless he's a 4th liner. (where I like him a lot better)
Re: Engelland/Bortuzzo. I don't have an answer to that. The organization may have different metrics for evaluating talent. I just don't know the answer to that. I've never found Engelland to be a particularly effective defenseman, so you're asking the wrong guy.
The organization, and this may tie back to Engelland, has a loyalty to its veterans it seems...and this is not at all uncommon throughout the league. Having kids come up and supplant established players is not highly thought of - at least, not always. Organizations will usually give expectations and what not when signing a player, what they expect this year, sometimes there are promises, what have you...if you get told that you're going to be in middle management and after three weeks, they stick you down in Storage B with a flashlight and tell you to catch roaches, you'd be a little upset.
Recent examples: Robin Lehner's comments re: Craig Anderson. Anderson (the starter) has been playing like dog mess. Lehner has been brilliant so far. When asked why he isn't getting more starts despite the clear difference in quality of play, Lehner basically said (and I'm paraphrasing): Well, if I become the starter for this organization one day, I wouldn't want to lose my job to some kid out of the minors outplayed me for a few weeks.
Buffalo recently sent down several young players. Some of the Buffalo veterans expressed a good deal of relief. Saying that those kids were handed the job and that they didn't earn it. It was polluting their locker room a tiny bit.
So, the organization's hardline stance on call-ups isn't unheard of and it's not unprovoked...well, somewhat. Ideally, yeah, we'll get to see Gibbons give it a try with Malkin.