The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby Froggy on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:18 pm

But does that mean they are bad defensively, or more a result of them being irrelevant offensively?
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby RxBandit66 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:19 pm

Froggy wrote:Right, but is the one goal against every 3 games really significant? They don't contribute ES offense, so they are going to be significantly minus unless they are perfect


True, but consider the fact that these guys really don't play many minutes at even strength. So, if they are out there for short shifts and a few minutes per night, they really shouldn't be allowing goals. 4th liners for good defensive teams like Detroit and NJ rarely have lopsided numbers like that. Career 4th liners like Jay Pandolfo, who had 100 goals in 880 career games, have been plus players for their entire careers.

My point is, they are giving up to many goals for the amount of time they are playing.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby shmenguin on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:24 pm

Froggy wrote:But does that mean they are bad defensively, or more a result of them being irrelevant offensively?


does it matter?
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby slappybrown on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:27 pm

Froggy wrote:But does that mean they are bad defensively, or more a result of them being irrelevant offensively?

They don't possess the puck. Their Corsi numbers are awful. They spend the entire time in their end, leading to shots by the other team and goals. They don't need to score, but in the 6 or 7 minutes of ES time they get, they cannot be as poor as they have been. Its not that they have to score; they just have to not be overrun.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby shmenguin on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:33 pm

slappybrown wrote:They spend the entire time in their end


this is the big thing. regardless of +/-, goals scored, goals against, etc., when they're trapped in their own end, it puts strain on your goalie and defensemen, it facilitates momentum shifts, leads to penalties...you get the idea. the eyeball test says they suck. the stat test says they really suck. the hockey nerd test says they aren't a huge deal, but yeah, they still kind of suck these days.

not good.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby Froggy on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:34 pm

Thanks slappy. I needed something other than +/-.

And when discussing +/- it absolutely DOES matter what they do offensively. That's literally half the stat. A bad plus minus doesn't necessarily mean a player is bad defensively, just like a good plus minus doesn't mean they are good
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby Froggy on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:36 pm

I wasn't trying to say they weren't bad, but just +/- is a horrible stat
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby shmenguin on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:38 pm

Froggy wrote:I wasn't trying to say they weren't bad, but just +/- is a horrible stat


i think if you say that a group of guys aren't going to score, nor are they supposed to score (like this line), then +/- becomes a somewhat reasonable metric. you're basically removing a ton of the context that makes it such a dubious stat to begin with. so in this case, that's where i think it has more value than usual.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby wondermoose on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:41 pm

Froggy wrote:I wasn't trying to say they weren't bad, but just +/- is a horrible stat


It's horrible on a short timescale, but is generally pretty indicative. Case in point, with all of these Jack Johnson rumors that Rob Rossi invented, taking a glance at his +/- is pretty damning. He's never had a + season, and that's a big deal. Likewise, when the Pens fourth line has put up rather consistent +/- over the years, you can tell when they're struggling.

I also just thought of this, but it could be the change in the way hits are being called that is affecting the fourth line so much. Joe Vitale and Craig Adams both got hit with a few boarding penalties early on, mostly on dump-and-chase type plays. When you take that hit away from them, maybe it takes their forecheck away.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby slappybrown on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:47 pm

Froggy wrote:Thanks slappy. I needed something other than +/-.

And when discussing +/- it absolutely DOES matter what they do offensively. That's literally half the stat. A bad plus minus doesn't necessarily mean a player is bad defensively, just like a good plus minus doesn't mean they are good

Amongst forwards who have played 10 games or more (374), Vitale is 359th and Glass is 360th in Relative Corsi (their pure Corsi rankings are similar). Adams is tied for 345th (surprisingly to me at least, tied with Cooke). This is at 5 on 5.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby Pucks_and_Pols on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:48 pm

shmenguin wrote:where have all the thorburns gone

they've become thrashers every one.
oh when will we ever learn?
oh when will we,
ever learn?

...where have all the thrashers gone?
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby meecrofilm on Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:21 pm

I thought of Paula Cole, actually.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby penmyst on Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:02 pm

shmenguin wrote:
slappybrown wrote:They spend the entire time in their end


this is the big thing. regardless of +/-, goals scored, goals against, etc., when they're trapped in their own end, it puts strain on your goalie and defensemen, it facilitates momentum shifts, leads to penalties...you get the idea. the eyeball test says they suck. the stat test says they really suck. the hockey nerd test says they aren't a huge deal, but yeah, they still kind of suck these days.

not good.


And to add to this note, part of the reason the Pens' game has become so poor defensively, GAA has risen, and games have been sloppy run-n-gun is that the "flow" of the opponent's game isn't disrupted at all except for the odd shift where Geno or Sid go full Autobot grind mode and simply will. not. be. denied. possession of the puck. This phenomenon is often referred to as the Pens "not being hard to play against". And it's correct.

While 3rd and 4th lines don't *need* to contribute goals (it's nice if they do), what they *need* to do is contribute in the way of making the other team WORK (especially defensively), and break up their (opponent) flow, as well as wear out their D (by good cycling/forechecking) AND frustrating their offensive players (by good backchecking, in-your-face grinding defensive zone, CONTESTING pucks defensive zone).

It's apropos that we talk about this as tonight's game is against Philadelphia. These matchups are prime examples of what I am talking about. Outside of the emotional idiocy demonstrated by the Pens...

When the Pens get the possession game working, the forechecking/cycling as it should (and this means 3rd/4th liners)--- they expose Philly's paltry D, give them fits in their (PHI) end, as well as stunt the Flyer's offensive game.

When the Pens are failing at it, the Flyers are able to easily clear their zone, as well as get the Pens in trouble in the D zone. The Flyers game is good hard work by the F in the offensive zone, cycling, puck possession and good positioning.

This is why one of the strategies of HCDB to get action going behind Philly's goal area.. is a good idea. It means the Pens are then cycling well, possessing well, and keeping Philly from exposing the Pens in their own end.

Where it usualy falls apart on HCDB's end is that he is outcoached by HCPL, and Dan simply doesn't make sweeping adjustments well in games. So when HCPL figures out Dan's tictac-for-teh-day, a couple tactical switches later, the Pens are struggling and HCDB has no answer.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby pcm on Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:34 pm

What's amazing is that Jeffrey is better than anyone on our 4th line (and one player on our 3rd), yet he sits...

I kinda wish our 4th line was Vitale-Jeffrey-Kennedy.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby largegarlic on Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:54 pm

I agree more with most of the criticism of the 4th line. There have been very few shifts where they just held an opposing team in the offensive zone with relentless forechecking and cycling. During the Cup runs, it seemed like this happened on a regular basis. Despite any of his other failings, I kind of miss having a guy like Laraque who pretty much just stand over the puck behind the other team's goal and basically dare someone from the other to try to move him off it. I thought swapping Asham for Glass would help, but so far, I haven't seen it from Glass.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby sniper on Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:01 pm

RxBandit66 wrote:Stats for the 4th line of the Pens, which consists of Tanner Glass, Joe Vitale, Craig Adams:

66 games played, 2 goals, 3 assists, and a minus 21

There's been a lot of negative talk about Kennedy, and the need for a second line wing, and all those other things, but perhaps this entire line needs re-tooled, because these numbers are awful. The defenders of these players will say they kill penalties and +/- does not matter, but let's be realistic.

Bylsma loves this line too, and he uses it frequently. The line just lacks the toughness, hockey sense, and chemistry to be effective. Players like Jarkko Ruutu and Mike Rupp are sorely missed!


I swear Dan likes to match this line against the other teams top lines. I have no idea why. You would think he'd try to get Sutter out against the other teams best line, but he never seems to be out there. Doesn't matter if it's at home or on the road. I don't get it.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby NashvilleCat on Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:04 pm

That's why I think the Pens will do more to reinforce the bottom of the roster than they will to add to the top.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby Mr. Colby on Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:16 pm

mikey287 wrote:I haven't been proud of their work individually, but I think it falls on coaching, not personnel...they don't seem to have a direction out there, they don't have a goal out there...

That's one thing I've always made it a point to do for some of my lower line guys, my energy guys that don't have a ton of puck skills...I give them a goal to accomplish on their shift...doesn't have to be much, can be abstract even, but give them a task and they'll complete it...


Learned the hard way to be careful when saying something like that around here.

You're right though. The 4th line's role at this point appears to be nothing more than giving 87 and 71 a rest.

They provide no tangible benefit to our team beyond that.

What you really want from them is energy and momentum.

To answer the thread title: I don't know what other teams' 4th lines look like, but I'd venture to say this is the worst 4th line on a healthy pens team in years
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby Mr. Colby on Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:21 pm

I'd love to add a Jerred Smithson or Matt Hendricks to our 4th line.

I'd love to get both actually, as well as a 2nd line winger, and run a line of Bennett-Smithson-Hendricks.

Before anyone freaks out on me about a prospect being on line 4 - it's a common thing for playoff teams to place young potential scoring forwards on the 4th line for playoff hockey. It not only provides the team with a threat to score from that line, but it provides the player with some solid playoff experience with protected minutes
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby Pens4Life on Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:38 pm

I also miss Rupp,he was slow,but still better than Glass. I always liked Maxim Lapierre and Chris Thorburn as 4th liners.

Wasnt Zach Sill predicted to be useful 4th liner?
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby Jesse on Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:54 pm

Prior to the skid that started back against Florida, it wasn't that bad.

First off, if it's points you're expecting, throw that out the window. That isn't their job.

Bylsma some how managed to get them out over the course of the last several games against the top line of the other team. That is insane to me and I can't understand if he meant to do that or if he got caught on line changes.

Before Carolina, you had a few facts to consider:

1. Their Corsi number indicated they were getting outshot, but by a small margin. Glass mentioned they wanted to start shooting more, they did; it reflected in the statistics, and only fell apart when they got torched by the oppositions top line a few times (Orpik has a lot to do with that, by the way.)

2. Adams/Vitale are in the top 4 on the team for penatlies DRAWN per 60 minutes of play.

3. They block a ton of shots at even strength.

4. Pens goaltenders face the least amount of shots per 60 minutes of play when they're on the ice.

That's not par for the course if you look around the rest of the NHL. The fact is, prior to them getting blasted on the road last week, they were probably among the best fourth lines in hockey. If not the best.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby Steve on Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:09 pm

Mongoose87 wrote:
Froggy wrote:
shmenguin wrote:our 4th line started to go into the tank once bylsma took over - which is a little ironic considering his playing career.

I actually would argue it was the 2007 trade deadline when we replaced petrovizcky with laraque, but that's just me.

You obviously don't remember when Laraque used to get our good players a thirty second breather by possessing the puck in the offensive zone single-handedly.


Did happen alot though? I do remember that one time, where he held the puck behind the opponents net, for the entire 2nd period. The other lines were so pissed that they didnt' get to play that period.

I don't know about our 4th line - but I am becoming a fan of Vitale. I hope he gets back into the lineup on Sat.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby Froggy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:09 pm

In all honesty, I'm much more troubled by Malkin and Neal both being minus players going in to last night since they are both top point getters
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby DontToewsMeBro on Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:12 pm

In a half season, I would expect about 9-10 points each from my 4th liners. At least that's the average for Penguins teams over the last few years-who have had pretty good 4th lines. Guys like Talbot, Rupp, Asham, Letestu, Connor, Park...they could all grind and cycle and maintain puck possession. They aren't doing anything like that this year, unfortunately. I think our below average PK numbers combined with their 5 on 5 play is a bad recipe heading into the playoffs.
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Re: The Worst 4th Line In Hockey?

Postby shmenguin on Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:16 pm

Being outshot and having "a ton" of blocks in their limited ice time implies they're stuck in their own end too much. Maybe the numbers don't support that. Who knows.
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