If you have listened to any bench interview of Joel Quenneville he has one constant word-PACE. He talks about it constantly whether it’s pre-game, post-game, NHL 36 you could have a drinking game with the number of times he talks about Pace. The Hawks are a fast young team that can create pace but in Game #2 it wasn’t there due to the nonstop clutching and grabbing a la 1980′s playoff hockey of the Detroit Red Wings. Here is four easy steps to create pace in Game #3 and steal back home ice advantage in the series.
1. Re-Insert the #3 line- Yes I’m as tired as everyone else about hearing the benching of Viktor Stalberg but it is evident that the dominant line in the Wild series has disappeared in the Detroit series. Throughout the season people talked about the Andrew Shaw, Byan Bickell, Viktor Stalberg line. Most people said it was incredible that this was the Hawks #3 line was better than most teams #2 lines. When Marian Hossa was hurt the Hawks moved Bryan Bickell to the top line for two games but quickly learned their mistake and put back together that line while calling up Jimmy Hayes to move players around. This line is pesky with speed and a hitter why break it up now in the second round of the playoffs. Hopefully whatever lesson you were teaching Stalberg is learned and we all can move on (This is rumored to be happening after practice today).
2. Bench Michal Handzus. If you want to talk about pace then it is time to put Handzus up in the press box. Yes, he was part of the only scoring play of the game but that was on a deflected pass and only because he was trailing the play. Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane are fast players and need someone with (pace) speed to keep up with them instead of having Handzus trailing every sequence. The way to beat Detroit is speed and pace and the last time I checked that is not one of Handzus’s strengths.
3. Replace Daniel Carcillo- Not that the carbomb is a slow skater but this isn’t a goon series nor do we need Brandon Bollig. We need skill and speed which is why Carcillo is averaging about 6:30 a game of ice time. Skill and speed is a recipe for beating the old guard Red Wings and Carillo only has one of those traits. Put Ben Smith in for Carcillo on the fourth line and let’s get some young legs that really want it with some skill. The new fourth line of Marcus Kruger, Michael Frolik, and Smith would be fast and skilled and would be able to be on the ice more than one shift a period and penalty kills a game. The Hawks seem to be getting away from rolling four lines and this needs to become a focus again in Game #3. Skill and speed will be the evil enemy.
4. Put Dave Bolland back on line #2.- I’m all for this even though people like calling Bolland names. He’s annoying yet skilled enough to play between Kane and Sharp. He’s a better option than Kruger without breaking up line #3. Bolland is a playoff gamer but seems a little off ,due to time off and the guys he’s skating with in the first two games. Put him back on the line with Kane and good things will happen plus they will have a defensive presence added with Bolland on the ice that is missing with Handzus. This will increase the pace for Q and will still be offensive for the team.
What do you think? What changes or adjustments would you make for Game #3?
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