In Bruce We Trust, right? I'm with him. I mean his philosophy works, it's just a matter of getting all parts of the machine to function together.
After the crapfest in Dallas and the strangest game thus far in St. Louis, Bruce decided to mix up the line combinations at practice today. And when I say 'mix up', I mean throw in a salad spinner, then a blender and for good measure, a couple times around in the tea cup ride at Disneyland.
Per the Ducks twitter account, here are the new line combos (offense only) at practice in Chicago:
#NHLDucks shake up lines in practice: Ryan-Koivu-Selanne, Palmieri-Getzlaf-Winnik, Cogliano-Bonino-Perry, Beleskey-Etem-Staubitz-Rakell.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 11, 2013
Let's put that into a better diagram:
Bobby Ryan - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Kyle Palmieri - Ryan Getzlaf - Daniel Winnik
Andrew Cogliano - Nick Bonino - Corey Perry
Matt Beleskey - Emerson Etem - Brad Staubitz - Rickard Rakell
If you don't like speculation, don't read this next part.
The new 'top line' makes sense. Teemu and Bobby have found their chemistry together and Koivu can play with pretty much anyone and make them stronger (Exhibit A: Cogliano). What this line give you is speed with Selanne and Koivu, size with Ryan and all three have play-making ability.
Second line has size with Getzlaf and Winnik and speed with Palmieri. Palmieri's hands are starting to develop into those of a sniper. With Getzlaf's passing and Winnik's ability to get in the opposing net minder's crease, Palmieri can fly around shooting like crazy.
The third line I kind of don't get. Bonino and Cogliano are small and can be physical-ish. They do have speed, too. Perry is still Perry but not completely what we're used to.
The fourth line is nothing really new. Not totally thrilled to see Starburns still there but what can ya do.
Could Bruce be 'sending a message' to Getzlaf and Perry? Getzlaf put together some really strong games and then dropped off again. Perry has had the yips everywhere but the shootout. A really bold move to shift them down on the line combinations and separate them, especially when they're both playing for dollars.
In the same regard, is Bobby Ryan getting the positive recognition from Bruce he needs to stay consistent and confident? Saku and Teemu likely don't care where they are playing. By putting Bobby back on the top line, he is essentially being rewarded by Bruce. We used to talk about Perry being in Getzlaf's shadow. Well, Bobby's lived his career in both of their's. His rant over the summer, even if it was alcohol-induced, showed how much he felt he needed to be recognized. He's got it now. It's up to him how he uses it.
Ducks hit the ice tomorrow at 5:30pm versus the first place Chicago Blackhawks.
One quick note: Nate Guenin was called up from Norfolk. He was at practice with the team this morning.